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k.lnituui  <}iu1s  m  r'ty  " ■•  J  her  thac 


?/L  ///Al^^Av 















The  creation  of  heaven  and  earth.  The  golden  age.  The  silver 
age.  The  brazen  age.  The  iron  age.  The  giant's  war.  The 
transformation  of  Daphne  into  a  laurel.  The  transformation 
of  16  into  a  heifer.  The  eyes  of  Argus  transformed  into  a 
peacock's  train.    The  transformation  of  Syrinx  into  reeds. 

Op  bodies  chang'd  to  various  forms  I  sing : 

Ye  gods,  from  whom  these  miracles  did  spring, 

Inspire  my  numbers  with  celestial  heat, 

Till  I  my  long,  laborious  work  complete: 

And  add  perpetual  tenor  to  my  rhymes,  5 

Deduc'd  from  Nature's  birth  to  Caesar's  times. 

Before  the  seas,  and  this  terrestrial  ball, 
And  heav'n's  high  canopy,  that  covers  all, 
One  was  the  face  of  nature — if  a  face ; 
Rather  a  rude  and  indigested  mass ;  10 

A  lifeless  lump,  unfashion'd  and  unfram'd, 
Of  jarring  seeds;  and  justly  Chaos  nam'd. 
No  sun  was  lighted  up,  the  world  to  view ; 
No  moon  did  yet  her  blunted  horns  renew ; 
Nor  yet  was  earth  suspended  in  the  sky;  15 

Nor  pois'd,  did  on  her  own  foundations  lie : 
Nor  seas  about  their  shores  the  arms  had  thrown ; 
But  earth,  and  air,  and  water  were  in  one. 
Thus  air  was  void  of  light,  and  earth  unstable, 
And  water's  dark  abyss  unnavigable.  20 

No  certain  form  on  any  was  imprest ; 
All  were  confus'd,  and  each  disturb'd  the  rest. 
For  hot  and  cold  were  in  one  body  fixt; 
And  soft  with  hard,  and  light  with  heavy  mixt. 

But  God,  or  Nature,  while  they  thus  contend,      25 
To  these  intestine  discords  put  an  end : 
Then  earth  from  air,  and  seas  from  earth  were  driv'n, 
And  grosser  air  sunk  from  ethereal  heav'n. 
Thus  disembroil'd,  they  take  their  proper  place ; 
The  next  of  kin,  contiguously  embrace;  30 

And  foes  are  sunder'd,  by  a  larger  space. 


The  force  of  fire  ascended  first  on  high, 

And  took  its  dwelling  in  the  vaulted  sky : 

Then  air  succeeds,  in  lightness  next  to  fire  ; 

Whose  atoms  from  unactive  earth  retire.  35 

Earth  sinks  beneath,  and  draws  a  num'rous  throng 

Of  pond'rous,  thick,  unwieldy  seeds  along* 

About  her  coasts  unruly  waters  roar  ; 

And,  rising  on  a  ridge,  insult  the  shore. 

Thus  when  the  God,  whatever  God  was  he,  40 

Had  form'd  the  whole,  and  made  the  parte  agree, 

That  no  unequal  portions  might  be  found, 

He  moulded  earth  into  a  spacious  round  : 

Then  with  a  breath,  he  gave  the  winds  to  blow ; 

And  bade  the  congregated  waters  flow.  45 

He  adds  the  running  springs,  and  standing  lakes ; 

And  bounding  banks  for  winding  rivers  makes. 

Some  part  in  earth  are  swallow'd  up;  the  most 

In  ample  oceans  disembogu'd,  are  lost. 

He  shades  the  woods,  the  valleys  he  restrains  50 

With  rocky  mountains,  and  extends  the  plains. 

And  as  five  zones  th'  ethereal  regions  bind, 
Five,  correspondent,  are  to  earth  assign'd : 
The  sun  with  rays,  directly  darting  down, 
Fires  all  beneath,  and  fries  the  middle  zone  :  55 

The  two  beneath  the  distant  poles,  complain 
Of  endless  winter,  and  perpetual  rain. 
Betwixt  th'  extremes,  two  happier  climates  hold 
The  temper  that  partakes  of  hot  and  cold. 
The  fields  of  liquid  air,  inclosing  all,  60 

Surround  the  compass  of  this  earthly  ball : 
The  lighter  parts  lie  next  the  fires  above ; 
The  grosser  near  the  wat'ry  surface  move : 
Thick  clouds  are  spread,  and  storms  engender  there, 
And  thunder's  voice,  which  wretched  mortals  fear,  65 
And  winds  that  on  their  wings  cold  winter  bear. 
Nor  were  those  blust'ring  brethren  left  at  large,  , 

On  seas  and  shores  their  fury  to  discharge : 
Bound  as  they  are,  and  circumscrib'd  in  place, 
They  rend  the  world,  resistless,  as  they  pa*ts ;  70 

And  mighty  marks  of  mischief  leave  behind ; 
Such  is  the  rage  of  their  tempestuous  kiivd. 
First,  Eurus  to  the  rising  morn  is  sent 

BOOK  I.  5 

(The  regions  of  the  balmy  Continent) ; 
And  eastern  realms,  where  early  Persians  run,       75 
To  greet  the  blest  appearance  of  the  sun. 
Westward,  the  wanton  Zephyr  wings  his  flight, 
Pleas'd  with  the  remnants  of  departing  light : 
Fierce  Boreas,  with  his  offspring,  issues  forth 
T'  invade  the  frozen  waggon  of  the  North :  80 

While  frowning  Auster  seeks  the  southern  sphere ; 
And  rots,  with  endless  rain ,  th'  unwholesome  year. 
High  o'er  the  clouds,  and  empty  realms  of  wind, 
The  God  a  clearer  spate  for  heav'n  design'd ; 
Where  fields  of  light,  and  liquid  ether  flow,  85 

Purg'd  from  the  pond'rous  dregs  of  earth  below. 

Scarce  had  the  Pow'r  distinguish'd  these,  when 
The  stars,  no  longer  overlaid  with  weight,     [straight 
Exert  their  heads  from  underneath  the  mass, 
And  upward  shoot,  and  kindle  as  they  pass,  90 

And  with  diffusive  light  adorn  their  heavenly  place. 
Then,  every  void  of  nature  to  supply, 
With  forms  of  gods  he  fills  the  vacant  sky: 
New  herds  of  beasts,  he  sends  the  plains  to  share  ; 
New  colonies  of  birds  to  people  air :  95 

And  to  their  oozy  beds  the  finny  fish  repair. 

A  creature  of  a  more  exalted  kind 
Was  wanting  yet,  and  then  was  Man  design'd  : 
Conscious  of  thought,  of  more  capacious  breast, 
For  empire  form'd,  and  fit  to  rule  the  rest :  100 

Whether  with  particles  of  heavenly  fire 
The  god  of  nature  did  his  soul  inspire, 
Or  earth,  but  new-divided  from  the  sky, 
And,  pliant  still,  retain'd  th1  ethereal  energy ; 
Which  wise  Prometheus  temper'd  into  paste,         105 
And  mixt  with  living  streams  the  godlike  image  cast. 
Thus,  while  the  mute  creation  downward  bend 
Their  sight,  and  to  their  earthy  mother  tend, 
Man  looks  aloft ;  and  with  erected  eyes, 
Beholds  his  own  hereditary  skies.  110 

From  such  rude  principles  our  form  began  ; 
And  earth  was  metamorphos'd  into  Man. 

The  Golden  Age  was  first;  when  man,  yet  new, 
No  rule  but  uncorrupted  reason  knew ; 


And,  with  a  native  bent,  did  good  pursue.  115 

Unforc'd  by  punishment,  unaw'd  by  fear, 

His  words  were  simple,  and  his  soul  sincere ; 

Needless  was  written  law,  when  none  oppress'd  : 

The  law  of  man  was  written  in  his  breast : 

No  suppliant  crowds  before  the  judge  appear'd,      120 

No  court  erected  yet,  nor  cause  was  heard ; 

But  all  was  safe,  for  conscience  was  their  guard. 

The  mountain  trees  in  distant  prospect  please, 

Ere  yet  the  pine  descended  to  the  seas : 

Ere  sails  were  spread,  new  oceans  to  explore ;        125 

And  happy  mortals,  unconcern'd  for  more, 

Confin'd  their  wishes  to  their  native  shore. 

No  walls  were  yet ;  nor  fence,  nor  mote,  nor  mound, 

Nor  drum  was  heard,  nor  trumpet's  angry  sound ; 

Nor  swords  were  forg'd ;  but,  void  of  care  and  crime, 

The  soft  creation  slept  away  their  time.  131 

The  teeming  earth,  yet  guiltless  of  the  plough, 

And  unprovok'd,  did  fruitful  stores  allow : 

Content  with  food,  which  nature  freely  bred, 

On  wildings,  and  on  strawberries  they  fed;  135 

Cornels  and  bramble-berries  gave  the  rest, 

And  falling  acorns  furnish'd  out  a  feast. 

The  flowers  unsown,  in  fields  and  meadows  reign'd; 

And  western  winds  immortal  spring  maintain'd. 

In  following  years  the  bearded  corn  ensu'd,  140 

From  earth  unask'd,  nor  was  that  earth  renew'd. 

From  veins  of  valleys  milk  and  nectar  broke, 

And  honey  sweating  through  the  pores  of  oak. 

But  when  good  Saturn,  banish'd  from  above, 
Was  driv'n  to  hell,  the  world  was  under  Jove.        145 
Succeeding  times  a  Silver  Age  behold, 
Excelling  brass,  but  more  excell'd  by  gold. 
Then  summer,  autumn,  winter  did  appear, 
And  spring  was  but  a  season  of  the  year. 
The  sun  his  annual  course  obliquely  made,  150 

Good  days  contracted,  and  enlarg'd  the  bad. 
Then  air,  with  sultry  heats,  began  to  glow  ; 
The  wings  of  winds  were  clogg'd  with  ice  and  snow ; 
And  shivering  mortals,  into  houses  driv'n, 
Sought  shelter  from  th'  inclemency  of  heav'n.        155 

BOOK  I.  7 

Those  houses,  then,  were  caves,  or  homely  sheds  ; 
With  twining  osiers  fenc'd,  and  moss  their  beds. 
Then  ploughs,  for  seed,  the  fruitful  furrows  broke, 
And  oxen  labour'd  first  beneath  the  yoke. 

To  this  came  next  in  course,  the  Brazen  Age :    160 
A  warlike  offspring,  prompt  to  bloody  rage, 
Not  impious  yet : 

Hard  Steel  succeeded  then : 

And  stubborn  as  the  metal  were  the  men. 

Truth,  modesty,  and  shame  the  world  forsook  ;       165 

Fraud,  avarice,  and  force,  their  places  took. 

Then  sails  were  spread  to  every  wind  that  blew, 

Raw  were  the  sailors,  and  the  depths  were  new : 

Trees,  rudely  hollow'd,  did  the  waves  sustain, 

Ere  ships  in  triumph  plough'd  the  wat'ry  plain.    170 

Then  landmarks  limited  to  each  his  right ; 
For  all  before  was  common  as  the  light: 
Nor  was  the  ground  alone  requir'd  to  bear 
Her  annual  income  to  the  crooked  share, 
But  greedy  mortals,  rummaging  her  store,  175 

Digg'd  from  her  entrails  first  the  precious  ore, 
Which  next  to  hell  the  prudent  gods  had  laid, 
And  that  alluring  ill  to  sight  display'd. 
Thus  cursed  steel,  and  more  accursed  gold, 
Gave  mischief  birth,  and  made  that  mischief  bold, 
And  double  death  did  wretched  man  invade,  181 

By  steel  assaulted,  and  by  gold  betray'd. 
Now  (brandish'd  weapons  glittering  in  their  hands) 
Mankind  is  broken  loose  from  moral  bands  : 
No  rights  of  hospitality  remain;  185 

The  guest,  by  him  who  harbour'd  him,  is  slain. 
The  son-in-law  pursues  the  father's  life  ; 
The  wife  her  husband  murders,  he  the  wife. 
The  stepdame  poLson  for  the  son  prepares; 
The  son  inquires  into  his  father's  years.  190 

Faith  flies,  and  piety  in  exile  mourns; 
And  justice,  here  opprest,  to  heav'n  returns. 

Nor  were  the  gods  themselves  more  safe  above ; 
Against  beleagur'd  heav'n  the  Giants  move. 
Hills  pil'd  on  hills,  on  mountains  mountains  lie,    195 
To  make  their  mad  approaches  to  the  sky. 


Till  Jove,  no  longer  patient,  took  his  time 
T'  avenge,  with  thunder,  their  audacious  crime ; 
Red  lightning  play'd  along  the  firmament, 
And  their  demolish'd  works  to  pieces  rent.  20© 

Sing'd  with  the  flames,  and  with  the  bolts  transfixt, 
With  native  earth  their  blood  the  monsters  mixt: 
The  blood,  endu'd  with  animating  heat, 
Did  in  th'  impregnant  earth  new  sons  beget: 
They,  like  the  seed  from  which  they  sprung  accurst 
Against  the  gods  immortal  hatred  nurs'd.  206 

An  impious,  arrogant,  and  cruel  brood, 
Expressing  their  original  from  blood. 

Which  when  the  King  of  Gods  beheld  from  high 
(Withal  revolving  in  his  memory,  210 

What  he  himself  had  found  on  earth  of  late, 
Lycaon's  guilt,  and  his  inhuman  treat), 
He  sigh'd:  nor  longer  with  his  pity  strove; 
But  kindled  to  a  wrath  becoming  Jove  : 
Then  call'd  a  general  council  of  the  gods;  215 

Who,  summon'd,  issue  from  their  blest  abodes, 
And  rill  th'  assembly  with  a  shining  train. 

A  way  there  is,  in  heaven's  expanded  plain, 
Which,  when  the  skies  are  clear,  is  seen  below, 
And  mortals,  by  the  name  of  Milky,  know.  220 

The  groundwork  is  of  stars ;  through  which  the  road 
Lies  open  to  the  Thunderer's  abode. 
The  gods  of  greater  nations  dwell  around, 
And,  on  the  right  and  left,  the  palace  bound ; 
The  commons  where  they  can :  the  nobler  sort,      225 
With  winding-doors,  wide  open  front  the  court. 
This  place,  as  far  as  earth  with  heav'n  may  vie, 
I  dare  to  call  the  Louvre  of  the  sky. 

When  all  were  plac'd,  in  seats  distinctly  known, 
And  he,  their  father,  had  assum'd  the  throne,        230 
Upon  his  iv'ry  sceptre  first  he  leant, 
Then  shook  his  head,  that  shook  the  firmament; 
Air,  earth,  and  seas,  obey'd  th'  almighty  nod ; 
And,  with  a  general  fear,  confess'd  the  God. 
At  length,  with  indignation,  thus  he  broke  235 

His  awful  silence,  and  the  pow'rs  bespoke: 

I  was  not  more  concern'd  in  that  debate 
Of  empire,  when  our  universal  state 

BOOK  I.  9 

Was  put  to  hazard,  and  the  giant  race 

Our  captive  skies  were  ready  to  embrace :  240 

For  though  the  foe  was  fierce,  the  seeds  of  all 

Rebellion  sprang  from  one  original ; 

Now,  wheresoever  ambient  waters  glide, 

All  are  corrupt,  and  all  must  be  destroy 'd. 

Let  me  this  holy  protestation  make, —  245 

By  hell,  and  hell's  inviolable  lake, 

I  try'd  whatever  in  the  godhead  lay  : 

But  gangrened  members  must  be  lopt  away, 

Before  the  nobler  parts  are  tainted  to  decay. 

There  dwells  below,  a  race  of  demi-gods,  250 

Of  nymphs  in  waters,  and  of  fawns  in  woods : 

Who,  though  not  worthy  yet  in  heav'n  to  live, 

Let  'em,  at  least,  enjoy  that  earth  we  give. 

Can  these  be  thought  securely  lodg'd  below, 

When  I  myself,  who  no  superior  know — ■  255 

I,  who  have  heav'n  and  earth  at  my  command, 

Have  been  attempted  by  Lycaon's  hand? 

At  this  a  murmur  through  the  synod  went, 
And,  with  one  voice,  they  vote  his  punishment. — 
Thus,  when  conspiring  traitors  dar'd  to  doom  2C0 

The  fall  of  Caesar,  and,  in  him,  of  Rome, 
The  nations  tremble  with  a  pious  fear; 
All  anxious  for  their  earthly  thunderer : 
Nor  was  their  care,  O  Caesar,  less  esteem'd 
By  thee,  than  that  of  heav'n  for  Jove  was  deem'd; 
Who  with  his  hand,  and  voice,  did  first  restrain     266 
Their  murmurs,  then  resumed  his  speech  again. 
The  gods  to  silence  were  compos'd,  and  sate 
With  reverence,  due  to  his  superior  state. 

Cancel  your  pious  cares ;  already  he  270 

Has  paid  his  debt  to  justice,  and  to  me. 
Yet  what  his  crimes,  and  what  my  judgments  were 
Remains  for  me  thus  briefly  to  declare. 
The  clamours  of  this  vile  degen'rate  age, 
The  cries  of  orphans,  and  th'  oppressor's  rage,        275 
Had  reach' d  the  stars: — I  will  descend,  said  I, 
In  hope  to  prove  this  loud  complaint  a  lie. 
Disguis'  human  shape,  1  travell'd  round 
The  world,  and  more  than  what  I  heard  1  found. 
O'er  Msenalus  I  took  my  steepy  way,  280 

B  2 


By  caverns  infamous  for  beasts  of  prey : 

Then  cross'd  Cyllene,  and  the  piny  shade, 

More  infamous  by  curst  Lyc'aon  made. 

Dark  night  had  cover'd  heaven,  and  earth,  before 

I  enter'd  his  unhospitable  door.  285 

Just  at  my  entrance,  I  display'd  the  sign 

That  somewhat  was  approaching  of  divine. 

The  prostrate  people  pray;  the  tyrant  grins, 

And,  adding  profanation  to  his  sins, 

I'll  try,  said  he,  and  if  a  god  appear,  29f) 

To  prove  his  deity  shall  cost  him  dear. 

'Twas  late :  the  graceless  wretch  my  death  prepares, 

When  I  should  soundly  sleep,  opprest  with  cares: 

This  dire  experiment  he  chose,  to  prove 

If  I  were  mortal,  or  undoubted  Jove :  205 

But  first  he  had  resolv'd  to  taste  my  pow'r : 

Not  long  before,  but  in  a  luckless  hour 

Some  legates,  sent  from  the  Molossian  state, 

Were  on  a  peaceful  errand  come  to  treat : 

Of  these,  he  murders  one;  he  boils  the  flesh,  300 

And  lays  the  mangled  morsels  in  a  dish: 

Some  part  he  roasts;  then  serves  it  up,  so  drest, 

And  bids  me  welcome  to  this  human  feast. 

Mov'd  with  disdain,  the  table  I  o'erturn'd, 

And  with  avenging  flames  the  palace  burn'd.  305 

The  tyrant  in  a  fright  for  shelter  gains 

The  neighb'riug  fields,  and  scours  along  the  plains. 

Howling  he  fled,  and  fain  he  would  have  spoke ; 

But  human  voice  his  brutal  tongue  forsook. 

About  his  lips  the  gather'd  foam  he  churns,  31  a 

And,  breathing  slaughters,  still  with  rage  he  burns, 

But  on  the  bleating  flock  his  fury  turns. 

His  mantle,  now  his  hide,  with  rugged  hairs, 

Cleaves  to  his  back  ;  a  famish'd  face  he  bears ; 

His  arms  descend,  his  shoulders  sink  away  315 

To  multiply  his  legs  for  chace  of  prey. 

He  grows  a  wolf;  his  hoariness  remains, 

And  the  same  rage  in  other  members  reign3. 

His  eyes  still  sparkle  in  a  narrower  space  ; 

His  jaws  retain  the  grin  and  violence  of  his  face.   320 

This  was  a  single  ruin  ;  but  not  one 
Deserves  so  just  a  punishment  alone.       *' 

BOOK  I.  11 

Mankind's  a  monster,  and  th'  ungodly  times 

Confed'rate  into  guilt,  are  sworn  to  crimes. 

All  are  alike  involv'd  in  ill,  and  all  325 

Mast  by  the  same  relentless  fury  fall. 

Thus  ended  he ;  the  greater  gods  assent, 

By  clamorous  urging  his  severe  intent ; 

The  less  fill  up  the  cry  for  punishment. 

Yet  still  with  pity  they  remember  man,  330 

And  mourn  as  much  as  heav'nly  spirits  can. 

They  ask,  when  those  were  lost  of  human  birth, 

What  he  would  do  with  all  this  waste  of  earth : 

If  his  dispeopled  world  he  would  resign 

To  beasts,  a  mute,  and  more  ignoble  line  ?  335 

Neglected  altars  must  no  longer  smoke, 

If  none  were  left  to  worship  and  invoke. 

To, whom  the  father  of  the  gods  reply'd: 

Lay  that  unnecessary  fear  aside ; 

Mine  be  the  care,  new  people  to  provide.  340 

I  will  from  wondrous  principles  ordain 

A  race  unlike  the  first,  and  try  my  skill  again. 

Already  had  he  toss'd  the  flaming  brand, 
And  roll'd  the  thunder  in  his  spacious  hand, 
Preparing  to  discharge  on  seas  and  land;  345 

But  stopt,  for  fear,  thus  violently  driv'n, 
The  sparks  should  catch  his  axle-tree  of  heaven. 
Rememb'ring,  in  the  fates,  a  time  when  fire 
Should  to  the  battlements  of  heav'n  aspire ; 
And  all  his  blazing  worlds  above  should  burn,         350 
And  all  th'  inferior  globe  to  cinders  turn. 
His  dire  artill'ry  thus  dismist,  he  bent 
His  thoughts  to  some  securer  punishment: 
Concludes  to  pour  a  wat'ry  deluge  down, 
And  what  he  durst  not  burn,  resolves  to  drown.    355 

The  northern  breath,  that  freezes  floods,  he  binds ; 
With  all  the  race  of  cloud-dispelling  winds: 
The  south  he  loos'd,  who  night  and  horror  brings; 
And  fogs  are  shaken  from  his  flaggy  wings. 
From  his  divided  beard  two  streams  he  pours,         300 
His  head,  and  rheumy  eyes  distil  in  show'rs. 
With  rain  his  robe  and  heavy  mantle  flow : 
And  lazy  mists  are  low'ring  on  his  brow : 
Still  as  he  swept  along,  with  his  clench'd  fist 


He  squeez'd  the  clouds,  th'  imprison'd  clouds  resist : 
The  skies,  from  pole  to  pole,  with  peals  resound;     366 
And  show'rs  enlarg'd,  come  pouring  on  the  ground. 
Then  clad  in  colours  of  a  various  dye, 
Junonian  Iris  breeds  a  new  supply 
To  feed  the  clouds ;  impetuous  rain  descends ;         370 
The  bearded  corn  beneath  the  burthen  bends : 
Defrauded  clowns  deplore  their  perish'd  grain, 
And  the  long  labours  of  the  year  are  vain. 

Nor  from  his  patrimonial  heaven  alone 
Is  Jove  content  to  pour  his  vengeance  down ;  375 

Aid  from  his  brother  of  the  seas  he  craves, 
To  help  him  with  auxiliary  waves. 
The  wat'ry  tyrant  calls  his  brooks  and  floods, 
Who  roll  from  mossy  caves  (their  moist  abodes), 
And  with  perpetual  urns  his  palace  fill :  380 

To  whom  in  brief,  he  thus  imparts  his  will : 

Small  exhortations  need ;  your  pow'rs  employ: 
And  this  bad  world,  so  Jove  requires,  destroy. 
Let  loose  the  reins  to  all  your  wat'ry  store ; 
Bear  down  the  dams,  and  open  ev'ry  door.  385 

The  floods,  by  nature  enemies  to  land, 
And  proudly  swelling  with  their  new  command, 
Remove  the  living  stones  that  stopp'd  their  way, 
And  gushing  from  their  source  augment  the  sea.    389 
Then,  with  his  mace, their  monarch  struck  the  ground; 
With  inward  trembling,  earth  receiv'd  the  wound, 
And  rising  streams  a  ready  passage  found. 
Th'  expanded  waters  gather  on  the  plain :  *• 
They  float  the  fields,  and  overtop  the  grain ; 
Then  rushing  onwards,  with  a  sweepy  sway,  395 

Bear  flocks,  and  folds,  and  lab'ring  hinds  away. 
Nor  safe  their  dwellings  were,  for,  sapp'd  by  floods, 
Their  houses  fell  upon  their  household  gods. 
The  solid  piles,  too  strongly  built  to  fall, 
High  o'er  their  heads  behold  a  wat'ry  wall:  400 

Now  seas  and  earth  were  in  confusion  lost; 
A  world  of  waters,  and  without  a  coast. 

One  climbs  a  cliff;  one  in  his  boat  is  borne : 
And  ploughs  above,  where  late  he  sow'd  his  corn. 
Others  o'er  chimney-tops  and  turrets  row,  405 

And  drop  their  anchors  on  the  meads  below; 


Or  downward  driv'n,  they  bruise  the  tender  vine, 

Or  tost  aloft,  are  knock'd  against  a  pine. 

And  where  of  late  the  kids  had  cropt  the  grass, 

The  monsters  of  the  deep  now  take  their  place.      410 

Insulting  Nereids  on  the  cities  ride, 

And  wond'ring  dolphins  o'er  the  palace  glide. 

On  leaves,  and  masts  of  mighty  oaks  they  browse, 

And  their  broad  fins  entangle  in  the  boughs. 

The  frighted  wolf  now  swims  amongst  the  sheep  ;  415 

The  yellow  lion  wanders  in  the  deep : 

His  rapid  force  no  longer  helps  the  boar  : 

The  stag  swims  faster  than  he  ran  before, 

The  fowls,  long  beating  on  their  wings  in  vain, 

Despair  of  land,  and  drop  into  the  main.  420 

Now  hills  and  vales  no  more  distinction  know, 

And  levell'd  nature  lies  oppress'd  below : 

The  most  of  mortals  perish  in  the  flood, 

The  small  remainder  dies  for  want  of  food. 

A  mountain  of  stupendous  height  there  stands    425 
Betwixt  th'  Athenian  and  Boeotian  lands, 
The  bound  of  fruitful  fields,  while  fields  they  were, ' 
But  then  a  field  of  waters  did  appear : 
Parnassus  is  its  name ;  whose  forky  rise 
Mounts  through  the  clouds,  and  mates  the  lofty  skies. 
High  on  the  summit  of  this  dubious  cliff,  431 

Deucalion  wafting,  moor'd  his  little  skiff. 
He  with  his  wife  were  only  left  behind 
Of  perish'd  man  :  they  two  were  human  kind. 
The  mountain  nymphs,  and  Themis  they  adore,      435 
And  from  her  oracles  relief  implore. 
The  most  upright  of  mortal  men  was  he  ; 
The  most  sincere,  and  holy  woman,  she. 

When  Jupiter,  surveying  earth  from  high, 
Beheld  it  in  a  lake  of  water  lie,  440 

That  where  so  many  millions  lately  liv'd, 
But  two,  the  best  of  either  sex,  surviv'd ; 
He  loos'd  the  northern  wind ;  fierce  Boreas  flies, 
To  puff  away  the  cloudB,  and  purge  the  skies: 
Serenely,  while  he  blows,  the  vapours  driv'n,         445 
Discover  heav'n  to  earth,  and  earth  to  heav'n. 
The  billows  fall,  while  Neptune  lays  his  mace 
On  the  rough  sea,  and  smooths  its  furrow 'd  face. 


Already  Triton,  at  his  call,  appears 

Above  the  waves  ;  a  Tyrian  robe  he  wears;  450 

And  in  his  hand  a  crooked  trumpet  bears. 

The  sov'reign  bids  him  peaceful  sounds  inspire  ; 

And  give  the  waves  the  signal  to  retire. 

His  writhen  shell  he  takes ;  whose  narrow  vent 

Grows  by  degrees  into  a  large  extent ;  455 

Then  gives  it  breath :  the  blast  with  doubling  sound 

Runs  the  wide  circuit  of  the  world  around : 

Tbe  sun  first  heard  it,  in  his  early  east, 

And  met  the  rattling  echoes  in  the  west. 

The  waters,  list'ning  to  the  trumpet's  roar,  4G0 

Obey  tbe  summons,  and  forsake  tbe  shore. 

A  thin  circumference  of  land  appears ; 
And  eartb,  but  not  at  once,  her  visage  rears, 
And  peeps  upon  the  seas  from  upper  grounds ; 
The  streams,  but  just  contained  within  their  bounds, 
By  slow  degrees  into  their  channels  crawl;  466 

And  earth  increases,  as  the  waters  fall. 
In  longer  time  the  tops  of  trees  appear, 
Which  mud  on  their  dishonour'd  branches  bear. 

At  length  the  world  was  all  restor'd  to  view  ;       470 
But  desolate,  and  of  a  sickly  hue  : 
Nature  beheld  herself,  and  stood  aghast, 
A  dismal  desert,  and  a  silent  waste. 

Which  when  Deucalion,  with  a  piteous  look 
Beheld,  he  wept,  and  thus  to  Pyrrha  spoke  :  475 

Oh  wife,  oh  sister,  oh  of  all  thy  kind 
The  best,  and  only  creature  left  behind, 
By  kindred,  love,  and  now  by  dangers  join'd ; 
Of  multitudes,  who  breath'd  the  common  air, 
We  two  remain ;  a  species  in  a  pair :  460 

The  rest  the  seas  have  swallow'd;  nor  have  we 
Ev'n  of  this  wretched  life  a  certainty. 
The  clouds  are  still  above;  and,  while  I  speak, 
A  second  deluge  o'er  our  heads  may  break. 
Should  I  be  snatch'dfrom  hence,  and  thou  remain, 
Without  relief,  or  partner  of  thy  pain,  486 

How  could'st  thou  such  a  wretched  life  sustain? 
Should  I  be  left,  and  thou  be  lost,  the  sea 
That  bury'd  her  I  lov'd,  should  bury  me. 
Oh,  could  our  father  his  old  arts  inspire,  491) 

BOOK  I.  15 

And  make  me  heir  of  his  informing  fire, 
That  so  I  might  abolish'd  man  retrieve, 
And  perish'd  people  in  new  souls  might  live  ! 
But  Heav'n  is  pleas'd,  nor  ought  we  to  complain, 
That  we,  th'  examples  of  mankind,  remain.  495 

He  said :  the  careful  couple  join  their  tears, 
And  then  invoke  the  god«  with  pious  pray'rs. 
Thus,  in  devotion  having  eas'd  their  grief, 
From  sacred  oracles  they  seek  relief; 
And  to  Cephysus*  brook  their  way  pursue :  500 

The  stream  was  troubled,  but  the  ford  they  knew. 
With  living  waters,  in  the  fountain  bred, 
They  sprinkle  first  their  garments,  and  their  head, 
Then  took  the  way  which  to  the  temple  led. 
The  roofs  were  all  defil'd  with  moss  and  mire,         505 
The  desert  altars  void  of  solemn  fire. 
Before  the  Gradual,  prostrate  they  ador'd ; 
The  pavement  kiss'd,  and  thus  the  saint  implor'd  : 

O  righteous  Themis,  if  the  pow'rs  above 
By  pray'rs  are  bent  to  pity,  and  to  love;  510 

If  human  miseries  can  move  their  mind; 
If  yet  they  can  forgive,  and  yet  be  kind : 
Tell  how  we  may  restore,  by  second  birth, 
Mankind,  and  people  desolated  earth. 

Then  thus  the  gracious  goddess,  nodding,  said  :    515 
Depart,  and  with  your  vestments  veil  your  head  ; 
And  stooping  lowly  down,  with  loosen'd  zones,  [bones. 
Throw  each  behind  your  backs,  your  mighty  mother's 

Amaz'd  the  pair,  and  mute  with  wonder  stand, 
Till  Pyrrha  first  refus'd  the  dire  command.  520 

Forbid  it  heav'n,  said  she,  that  I  should  tear 
Those  holy  reliques  from  the  sepulchre  ! 

They  ponder'd  the  mysterious  words  again, 
For  some  new  sense;  and  long  they  sought  in  vain  : 
At  length  Deucalion  clear'd  his  cloudy  brow,  525 

And  said,  The  dark  enigma  will  allow 
A  meaning,  which  if  well  I  understand, 
From  sacrilege  will  free  the  god's  command : 
This  earth  our  mighty  mother  is ;  the  stones 
In  her  capacious  body,  are  her  bones  :  530 

These  we  must  cast  behind. — With  hope  and  fear 
The  woman  did  the  new  solution  hear: 


The  man  diffides  in  his  own  augury, 

And  doubts  the  gods;  yet  both  resolve  to  try. 

Descending  from  the  mount,  they  first  unbind    535 
Their  vests,  and,  veil'd,  they  cast  the  stone3  behind: 
The  stones  (a  miracle  to  mortal  view, 
But  long  tradition  makes  it  pass  for  true) 
Did  first  the  rigour  of  their  kind  expel, 
And  suppled  into  softness,  as  they  fell ;  540 

Then  swell'd,  and  swelling,  by  degrees  grew  warm ; 
And  toolc  the  rudiments  of  human  form. 
Imperfect  shapes:  in  marble  such  are  seen, 
When  the  rude  chisel  does  the  man  begin ; 
While  yet  the  roughness  of  the  stone  remains,       545 
Without  the  rising  muscles,  and  the  veins. 
The  sappy  parts,  and  next  resembling  juice, 
Were  tum'd  to  moisture,  for  the  body's  use, 
Supplying  humours,  blood,  and  nourishment; 
The  rest,  too  solid  to  receive  a  bent,  550 

Converts  to  bones ;  and  what  was  once  a  vein, 
Its  former  name  and  nature  did  retain. 
By  help  of  pow'r  divine,  in  little  space, 
What  the  man  threw,  assum'd  a  manly  face ; 
And  what  the  wife,  renew'd  the  female  race.  555 

Hence  we  derive  our  nature;  born  to  bear 
Laborious  life,  and  harden'd  into  care. 

The  rest  of  animals,  from  teeming  earth 
Produc'd,  in  various  forms  receiv'd  their  birth. 
The  native  moisture,  in  its  close  retreat,  560 

Digested  by  the  sun's  ethereal  heat, 
As  in  a  kindly  womb,  began  to  breed ; 
Then  swell'd,  and  quicken'd  by  the  vital  seed. 
And  some  in  less,  and  some  in  longer  space, 
Were  ripen'd  into  form,  and  took  a  several  face.    565 
Thus  when  the  Nile  from  Pharian  fields  is  fled, 
And  seeks,  with  ebbing  tides,  his  ancient  bed, 
The  fat  manure  with  heav'nly  fire  is  warm'd : 
And  crusted  creatures,  as  in  wombs  are  form'd; 
These,  when  they  turn  the  glebe,  the  peasants  find ; 
Some  rude,  and  yet  unfinished  in  their  kind:  571 

Short  of  their  limbs,  a  lame  imperfect  birth; 
One  half  alive,  and  one  of  lifeless  earth. 

For  heat,  and  moisture,  when  in  bodies  join'd, 

BOOK  I.  17 

The  temper  that  results  from  either  kind  275 

Conception  makes ;  and,  fighting  till  they  mix, 
Their  mingled  atoms  in  each  other  fix. 
Thus  nature's  hand  the  genial  bed  prepares 
With  friendly  discord,  and  with  fruitful  wars. 

From  hence  the  surface  of  the  ground,  with  mud 
And  slime  besmear'd  (the  faeces  of  the  flood),  581 

Receiv'd  the  rays  of  heav'n;  and  sucking  in 
The  seeds  of  heat,  new  creatures  did  begin : 
Some  were  of  sev'ral  sorts  produc'd  before, 
But  of  new  monsters,  earth  created  more,  585 

Unwillingly  ;  but  yet  she  brought  to  light 
Thee,  Python,  too,  the  wond'ring  world  to  fright, 
And  the  new  nations,  with  so  dire  a  sight; 
So  monstrous  was  his  bulk,  so  large  a  space 
Did  his  vast  body  and  long  train  embrace.  590 

Whom  Phoebus  basking  on  a  bank  espy'd: 
Ere  now  the  god  his  arrows  had  not  try'd 
But  on  the  trembling  deer,  or  mountain  goat; 
At  this  new  quarry  he  prepares  to  shoot. 
Though  ev'ry  shaft  took  place,  he  spent  the  store    595 
Of  his  full  quiver;  and  'twas  long  before 
Th'  expiring  serpent  wallow'd  in  his  gore. 
Then,  to  preserve  the  fame  of  such  a  deed, 
For  Python  slain,  he  Pythian  games  decreed, 
Where  noble  youths  for  mastership  should  strive,  COO 
To  quoit,  to  run,  and  steeds  and  chariots  drive. 
The  prize  was  fame :  in  witness  of  renown, 
An  oaken  garland  did  the  victor  crown. 
The  laurel  was  not  yet  for  triumphs  born ; 
But  ev'ry  green  alike  by  Phoebus  worn,  605 

Did,  with  promiscuous  grace,  his  flowing  locks  adorn. 

The  first  and  fairest  of  his  loveE,  was  she 
Whom  not  blind  fortune,  but  the  dire  decree 
Of  angry  Cupid  forc'd  him  to  desire : 
Daphne  her  name,  and  Peneus  was  her  sire.  610 

Swell'd  with  the  pride,  that  new  success  attends, 
He  sees  the  stripling,  while  his  bow  he  bends, 
And  thus  insults  him ;  Thou  lascivious  boy, 
Are  arms  like  these  for  children  to  employ  1 
Know,  sueh  achievements  are  my  proper  claim ;  Q15 


Due  to  my  vigour  and  unerring  aim  : 

Resistless  are  my  shafts,  and  Python  late, 

In  such  a  feather'd  death  has  found  his  fate. 

Take  up  the  torch  (and  lay  my  weapons  by), 

With  that  the  feeble  souls  of  lovers  fry.  620 

To  whom  the  son  of  Venus  thus  reply 'd: 
Phoebus,  thy  shafts  are  sure  on  all  beside, 
But  mine  on  Phoebus,  mine  the  fame  shall  be 
Of  all  thy  conquests,  when  I  conquer  thee. 

He  said,  and  soaring,  swiftly  wing'd  his  flight;  625 
Nor  stopp'd,  but  on  Parnassus'  airy  height. 
Two  diffrent  shafts  he  from  his  quiver  draws : 
One  to  repel  desire,  and  one  to  cause ; 
One  shaft  is  pointed  with  refulgent  gold ; 
To  bribe  the  love,  and  make  the  lover  bold;  630 

One  blunt,  and  tipt  with  lead,  whose  base  allay 
Provokes  disdain,  and  drives  desire  away. 
The  blunted  bolt  against  the  nymph  he  drest ; 
But  with  the  sharp  transfix'd  Apollo's  breast. 

Th'  enamour'd  deity  pursues  the  chace;  635 

The  scornful  damsel  shuns  his  loath'd  embrace : 
In  hunting  beasts  of  prey,  her  youth  employs; 
And  Phoebe  rivals  in  her  rural  joys. 
With  naked  neck  she  goes,  and  shoulders  bare ; 
And  with  a  fillet  binds  her  flowing  hair.  640 

By  many  suitors  sought,  she  mocks  their  pains, 
And  still  her  vow'd  virginity  maintains ; 
Impatient  of  a  yoke,  the  name  of  bride 
She  shuns,  and  hates  the  joys  she  never  try'd. 
On  wilds  and  woods  she  fixes  her  desire ;  645 

Nor  knows  what  youth  and  kindly  love  inspire. 
Her  father  chides  her  oft; — Thou  ow'st  (says  he) 
A  husband  to  thyself,  a  son  to  me. 

She,  like  a  crime,  abhors  the  nuptial  bed; 
She  glows  with  blushes,  and  she  hangs  her  head ;  650 
Then  casting  round  his  neck  her  tender  arms, 
Soothes  him  with  blandishments  and  filial  charms : — 
Give  me,  my  lord  (she  said),  to  live  and  die 
A  spotless  maid,  without  the  marriage  tie. 
'Tis  but  a  small  request;  I  beg  no  more  655 

Than  what  Diana's  father  gave  before. 

The  good  old  sire  was  soften'd  to  consent ; 

BOOK  I.  19 

But  said  her  wish  would  prove  her  punishment: 
For  so  much  youth,  and  so  much  beauty  join'd, 
Oppos'd  the  state,  which  her  desires  design'd.         660 

The  God  of  Light,  aspiring  to  her  bed, 
Hopes  what  he  seeks,  with  flatt'ring  fancies  fed ; 
And  is,  by  his  own  oracles,  misled. 
And  as  in  empty  fields  the  stubble  burns, 
Or  nightly  travellers,  when  day  returns,  665 

Their  useless  torches  on  dry  hedges  throw, 
That  catch  the  flames,  and  kindle  all  the  row ; 
So  burns  the  god,  consuming  in  desire, 
And  feeding  in  his  breast  a  fruitless  fire  : 
Her  well-turn'd  neck  he  view'd  (her  neck  wa9  bare), 
And  on  her  shoulders  her  dishevell'd  hair; —         671 
O,  were  it  comb'd  (said  he),  with  what  a  grace 
Would  ev'ry  waving  curl  become  her  face ! 
He  view'd  her  eyes,  like  heav'nly  lamps  that  shone ; 
He  view'd  her  lips,  too  sweet  to  view  alone ;  675 

Her  taper  fingers,  and  her  panting  breast; 
He  praises  all  he  sees,  and  for  the  rest 
Believes  the  beauties  yet  unseen  are  best. 

Swift  as  the  wind  the  damsel  fled  away, 
Nor  did  for  these  alluring  speeches  stay :  ,     680 

Stay,  nymph  (he  cry'd),  I  follow,  not  a  foe : 
Thus  from  the  lion  trips  the  trembling  doe ; 
Thus  from  the  wolf  the  frightened  lamb  removes, 
And,  from  pursuing  falcons,  fearful  doves ;  684 

Thou  shunn'st  a  god,  and  shunn'st  a  god  that  loves. 
Ah,  lest  some  thorn  should  pierce  thy  tender  foot, 
Or  thou  should'st  fall  in  flying  my  pursuit; 
To  sharp  uneven  ways  thy  steps  decline; 
Abate  thy  speed,  and  I  will  bate  of  mine. 
Yet  think  from  whom  thou  dost  so  rashly  fly :        690 
Nor  basely  born,  nor  shepherd's  swain  am  I. 
Perhaps  thou  know'st  not  my  superior  state; 
And  from  that  ignorance  proceeds  thy  hate. 
Me  Claros,  Delphi,  Tenedos  obey; 
These  hands  the  Patareian  sceptre  sway.  695 

The  king  of  gods  begot  me :  what  shall  be, 
Or  is,  or  ever  was,  in  fate,  I  see. 
Mine,  is  the  invention  of  the  charming  lyre ; 
Sweet  notes,  and  heav'nly  numbers  I  inspire, 


Sure  is  my  bow,  unerring  is  my  dart ;  700 

But,  ah!  more  deadly  his,  who  pierc'd  my  heart. 
Med'cine  is  mine;  what  herbs  and  simples  grow 
In  fields,  and  forests,  all  their  pow'rs  I  know; 
And  am  the  great  physician  call'd,  below. 
Alas !  that  fields  and  forests  can  afford  70.5 

No  remedies  to  heal  their  love-sick  lord ; 
To  cure  the  pains  of  love,  no  plant  avails; 
And  his  own  physic,  the  physician  fails. 

She  heard  not  half,  so  furiously  she  flies ; 
And  on  her  ear  th'  imperfect  accent  dies.  710 

Fear  gave  her  wings :  and  as  she  fled,  the  wind 
Increasing,  spread  her  flowing  hair  behind, 
And  left  her  legs  and  thighs  expos'd  to  view ; 
Which  made  the  god  more  eager  to  pursue. 
The  god  was  young,  and  was  too  hotly  bent  715 

To  lose  his  time  in  empty  compliment : 
But  led  by  love,  and  fir'd  with  such  a  sight, 
Impetuously  pursu'd  his  near  delight. 

As  when  th'  impatient  greyhound  slipt  from  far, 
Bounds  o'er  the  glebe  to  course  the  fearful  hare,    720 
She  in  her  speed  does  all  her  safety  lay ; 
And  he  with  double  speed  pursues  the  prey ; 
O'erruns  her  at  the  sitting  turn,  and  licks 
His  chaps  in  vain,  and  blows  upon  the  flix : 
She  'scapes,  and  for  the  neighb'ring  covert  strives, 
And  gaining  shelter,  doubts  if  yet  she  lives :  72G 

If  little  things  with  great  we  may  compare, 
•  Such  was  the  god,  and  such  the  flying  fair. 
She  urg'd  by  fear,  her  feet  did  swiftly  move, 
Bat  he  more  swiftly,  who  was  urg'd  by  love.  73Q 

He  gathers  ground  upon  her  in  the  chase  ; 
Now  breathes  upon  her  hair,  with  nearer  pace ; 
And  just  is  fast'ning  on  the  wish'd  embrace. 

The  nymph  grew  pale,  and  in  a  mortal  fright, 
Spent  with  the  labour  of  so  long  a  flight;  735 

And  now  despairing,  cast  a  mournful  look 
Upon  the  streams  of  her  paternal  brook : — 
O  help  (she  cry'd),  in  this  extremest  need, 
If  water-gods  are  deities  indeed  : 

Gape,  earth,  and  this  unhappy  wretch  entomb;       740 
Or  change  my  form,  whence  all  my  sorrows  come. 

BOOK  I.  21 

Scarce  had  she  finish'd,  when  her  feet  she  found 
Benumb'd  with  cold,  and  fasten'd  to  tLe  ground : 
A  filmy  rind  about  her  body  grows ; 
Her  hair  to  leaves,  her  arms  extend  to  boughs  :      745 
The  nymph  is  all  into  a  laurel  gone: 
The  smoothness  of  her  skin  remains  alone. 
Yet  Phoebus  loves  her  still,  and  casting  round 
Her  bole,  his  arms,  some  little  warmth  he  found. 
The  tree  still  panted  in  th'  unfinish'd  part :  750 

Not  wholly  vegetive,  and  heav'd  her  heart. 
He  fix'd  his  lips  upon  the  trembling  rind ; 
It  swerv'd  aside,  and  his  embrace  declin'd. 
To  whom  the  god :   Because  thou  can'st  not  be 
My  mistress,  I  espouse  thee  for  my  tree :  755 

Be  thou  the  prize  of  honour  and  renown  ; 
The  deathless  poet,  and  the  poem  crewn. 
Thou  shalt  the  Boman  festivals  adorn, 
And,  after  poets,  be  by  victors  worn. 
Thou  shalt  returning  Caesar's  triumph  grace  ;         760 
When  pomps  shall  in  a  long  procession  pass ; 
Wreath'd  on  the  posts  before  his  palace  wait; 
And  be  the  sacred  guardian  of  the  gate. 
Secure  "from  thunder,  and  unharm'd  by  Jove, 
Unfading  as  th'  immortal  pow'rs  above  :  765 

And  as  the  locks  of  Phoebus  are  unshorn, 
So  shall  perpetual  green  thy  boughs  adorn. 
The  grateful  tree  was  pleas'd  with  what  he  said ; 
And  shook  the  shady  honours  of  her  head. 

An  ancient  forest  in  Thessalia  grows;  770 

Which  Tempe's  pleasing  valley  does  inclose. 
Through  this  the  rapid  Peneus  takes  his  course  ; 
From  Pindus  rolling  with  impetuous  force ; 
Mists  from  the  river's  mighty  fall  arise ; 
And  deadly  damps  inclose  the  cloudy  skies  :  775 

Perpetual  fogs  are  hanging  o'er  the  wood ; 
And  sounds  of  waters  deaf  the  neighbourhood. 
Deep,  in  a  rocky  cave,  he  makes  abode 
(A  mansion  proper  for  a  mourning  god): 
Here  he  gives  audience ;  issuing  out  decrees  780 

To  rivers,  his  dependent  deities. 
On  this  occasion  hither  they  resort, 


To  pay  their  homage,  and  to  make  their  court. 

All  doubtful,  whether  to  congratulate 

His  daughter's  honour,  or  lament  her  fate.  785 

Sperchseus,  crown'd  with  poplar,  first  appears ; 

Then  old  Apidanus  came  crown'd  with  years; 

Enipeus  turbulent;  Amphrysos  tame; 

And  JE&s  last  with  lagging  waters  came. 

Then,  of  his  kindred  brooks,  a  num'rous  throng     790 

Condole  his  loss  ;  and  bring  their  urns  along. 

Not  one  was  wanting  of  the  wat'ry  train, 

That  fill'd  his  flood,  or  mingled  with  the  main : 

But  Inachus,  who  in  his  cave,  alone, 

Wept  not  another's  losses,  but  his  own.  795 

Por  his  dear  lb,  whether  stray'd,  or  dead, 

To  him  uncertain,  doubtful  tears  he  shed. 

He  sought  her  through  the  world  ;  but  sought  in  vain  ; 

And  no  where  finding,  rather  fear'd  her  slain. 

Her,  just  returning  from  her  father's  brook,        800 
Jove  had  beheld  with  a  desiring  look ; — 
And,  O  fair  daughter  of  the  flood  (he  said), 
Worthy  alone  of  Jove's  imperial  bed, 
Happy  whoever  shall  those  charms  possess  ; 
The  King  of  Gods  (nor  is  thy  lover  less)  805 

Invites  thee  to  yon  cooler  shades ;  to  shun 
The  scorching  rays  of  the  meridian  sun. 
Nor  shalt  thou  tempt  the  dangers  of  the  grove 
Alone,  without  a  guide  ;  thy  guide  is  Jove. 
No  puny  pow'r,  but  he  whose  high  command         810 
Is  unconfin'd,  who  rules  the  seas  and  land, 
And  tempers  thunder  in  his  awful  hand. 
O,  fly  not:  for  she  fled  from  his  embrace 
O'er  Lerna's  pastures  :  he  pursu'd  the  chase 
Along  the  shades  of  the  L\rca?an  plain  ;  815 

At  length  the  god,  who  never  asks  in  vain, 
Involv'd  with  vapours,  imitating  night, 
Both  air,  and  earth  ;  and  then  suppress'd  her  flight, 
And  mingling  force  with  love,  enjoy'd  the  full  delight. 

Meantime  the  jealous  Juno,  from  on  high,  820 

Survey'd  the  fruitful  fields  of  Arcady : 
And  wonder'd  that  the  mist  should  overrun 
The  face  of  daylight,  and  obscure  the  sun. 
No  nat'ral  cause  she  found,  from  brooks,  or  bogs, 

BOOK  I.  ■        23 

Or  marshy  lowlands,  to  produce  the  fogs  :  825 

Then  round  the  skies  she  sought  for  Jupit  er, 
Her  faithless  husband  ;  but  no  Jove  was  t  here. 
Suspecting  now  the  worst, — Or  I  (she  sa  id), 
Am  much  mistaken,  or  am  much  betray'  d. 

With  fury  she  precipitates  her  flight ;  830 

Dispels  the  shadows  of  dissembled  night  ; 
And  to  the  day  restores  his  native  light. 
TV  almighty  lecher,  careful  to  prevent 
The  consequence,  foreseeing  her  descent, 
Transforms  his  mistress  in  a  trice ;  and  now  835 

In  Ib's  place  appears  a  lovely  cow. 
So  sleek  her  skin,  so  faultless  was  her  make, 
Ev'n  Juno  did  unwilling  pleasure  take 
To  see  so  fair  a  rival  of  her  love  : 
And  what  she  was,  and  whence,  inquir'd  of  Jove  ; 
Of  what  fair  herd,  and  from  what  pedigree  ?  841 

The  god,  half  caught,  was  forc'd  upon  a  lie ; 
And  said  she  sprang  from  earth.     She  took  the  word, 
And  begg'd  the  beauteous  heifer  of  her  lord. 
What  should  he  do  1  'twas  equal  shame  to  Jove     845 
Or  to  relinquish,  or  betray  his  love  : 
Yet  to  refuse  so  slight  a  gift  would  be 
But  more  t'increase  his  consort's  jealousy: 
Thus  fear,  and  love,  by  turns  his  heart  assail'd  : 
And  stronger  love  had,  sure,  at  length  prevail'd  : 
But  some  faint  hope  remain'd,  his  jealous  queen    851 
Had  not  the  mistress  through  the  heifer  seen. 
The  cautious  goddess,  of  ber  gift  possest, 
Yet  harbour'd  anxious  thoughts  within  her  breast ; 
As  she  who  knew  the  falsehood  of  her  Jove ;  855 

And  justly  fear'd  some  new  relapse  of  love. 
Which  to  prevent,  and  to  secure  her  care, 
To  trusty  Argus  she  commits  the  fair. 

The  head  of  Argus  (as  with  stars  the  skies) 
Was  compass'd  round,  and  wore  a  hundred  eyes. 
But  two  by  turns  their  lids  in  slumber  steep ;  861 

The  rest  on  duty  still  their  station  keep ; 
Nor  could  the  total  constellation  sleep. 
Thus,  ever  present,  to  his  eyes,  and  mind, 
His  charge  was  still  before  him,  though  behind.      865 
In  fields  he  suffer'd  her  to  feed  by  day ; 


But  when  the  setting  sun  to  night  gave  way, 

The  captive  cow  he  summon'd  with  a  call, 

And  drove  her  back,  and  ty'd  her  to  the  stall. 

On  leaves  of  trees,  and  bitter  herbs  she  fed,  870 

Heav'n  was  her  canopy,  bare  earth  her  bed : 

So  hardly  lodg'd,  and  to  digest  her  food, 

She  drank  from  troubled  streams,  defil'd  with  mud. 

Her  woful  story  fain  she  would  have  told, 

With  hands  upheld,  but  had  no  hands  to  hold.        875 

Her  head  to  her  ungentle  keeper  bow'd, 

She  strove  to  speak,  she  spoke  not,  but  she  low'd  : 

Affrighted  with  the  noise,  she  look'd  around, 

And  seem'd  t'  inquire  the  author  of  the  sound. 

Once  on  the  banks  where  often  she  had  play'd  880 
(Her  father's  banks),  she  came,  and  there  survey'd 
Her  alter'd  visage,  and  her  branching  head  ; 
And  starting,  from  herself  she  would  have  fled. 
Her  fellow  nymphs,  familiar  to  her  eyes, 
Beheld,  but  knew  her  not  in  this  disguise.  885 

Ev'n  Inachus  himself  was  ignorant ; 
And  in  his  daughter  did  his  daughter  want. 
She  followed  where  her  fellows  went,  as  she 
Were  still  a  partner  of  the  company : 
They  stroke  her  neck,  the  gentle  heifer  stands,      890 
And  her  neck  offers  to  their  stroking  hands. 
Her  father  gave  her  grass  ;  the  grass  she  took ; 
And  lick'd  his  palms,  and  cast  a  piteous  look ; 
And  in  the  language  of  her  eyes,  she  spoke. 
She  would  have  told  her  name,  and  ask'd  relief,  895 
But  wanting  words,  in  tears  she  tells  her  grief, 
Which,  with  her  foot  she  makes  him  understand ; 
And  prints  the  name  of  lb  in  the  sand. 

Ah  wretched  me  !  her  mournful  father  cry'd ; 
She,  with  a  sigh,  to  •  wretched  me'  reply'd ;  900 

About  her  milk-white  neck  his  arms  he  threw ; 
And  wept,  and  then  these  tender  words  ensue  : 
Arid  art  thou  she,  whom  I  have  sought  around 
The  world,  and  have  at  length  so  sadly  found  1 
So  found,  is  worse  than  lost:  with  mutual  words 
Thou  answer'st  not,  no  voice  thy  tongue  affords:    906 
But  sighs  are  deeply  drawn  from  out  thy  breast } 
And  speech  deny'd,  by  lowing  is  exprest. 

BOOK  I.  2 5 

Unknowing  I  prepar'd  thy  bridal  bed, 

With  empty  hopes  of  happy  issue  fed.  910 

But  now  the  husband  of  a  herd  must  be 

Thy  mate,  and  bellowing  sons  thy  progeny. 

O !  were  I  mortal,  death  might  bring  relief: 

But  now  my  godhead  but  extends  my  grief; 

Prolongs  my  woes,  of  which  no  end  I  see;  915 

And  makes  me  curse  my  immortality  ! 

More  had  he  said,  but  fearful  of  her  stay, 
The  starry  guardian  drove  his  charge  away, 
To  some  fresh  pasture;  on  a  hilly  height 
He  sate  himself,  and  kept  her  still  in  sight.  920 

Now  Jove  no  longer  could  her  sufferings  bear; 
But  call'd  in  haste  his  airy  messenger, 
The  son  of  Maia,  with  severe  decree, 
To  kill  the  keeper,  and  to  set  her  free. 
With  all  his  harness  soon  the  god  was  sped,  925 

His  flying  hat  was  fasten'd  on  his  head, 
Wings  on  his  heels  were  hung,  and  in  his  hand 
He  holds  the  virtue  of  the  snaky  wand. 
The  liquid  air  his  moving  pinions  wound, 
And,  in  the  moment,  shoot  him  on  the  ground.       930 
Before  he  came  in  sight,  the  crafty  god 
His  wings  dismiss'd,  but  still  retain'd  his  rod  : 
That  sleep-procuring  wand  wise  Hermes  took, 
But  made  it  seem  to  sight  a  shepherd's  hook. 
With  this  he  did  a  herd  of  goats  control ;  935 

Which  by  the  way  he  met,  and  slily  stole. 
Clad  like  a  country  swain,  he  pip'd,  and  sung; 
And  playing  drove  his  jolly  troop  along. 

With  pleasure,  Argus  the  musician  heeds ; 
But  wonders  much  at  those  new  vocal  reeds. 
And  whosoe'er  thou  art,  my  friend  (said  he),  940 

Up  hither  drive  thy  goats,  and  play  by  me  : 
This  hill  has  browze  for  them,  and  shade  for  thee. 

That  god,  who  was  with  ease  induc'd  to  climb, 
Began  discourse  to  pass  away  the  time ; 
And  still  betwixt  his  tuneful  pipe  he  plies,  945 

And  watch'd  his  hour  to  close  the  keeper's  eyes. 
With  much  ado,  he  partly  kept  awake ; 
Not  suffering  all  his  eyes  repose  to  take ; 


And  ask'd  the  stranger,  who  did  reeds  invent, 

And  whence  began  so  rare  an  instrument  ?  950 

Then  Hermes  thus  :  A  nymph  of  late  there  was, 
Whose  heav'nly  form  her  fellows  did  surpass. 
The  pride  and  joy  of  fair  Arcadia's  plains, 
Belov'd  by  deities,  ador'd  by  swains  : 
Syrinx  her  name,  by  sylvans  oft  pursu'd,  955 

As  oft  she  did  the  lustful  gods  delude: 
The  rural,  and  the  woodland  pow'rs  disdain'd ; 
With  Cynthia  hunted,  and  her  rites  maintain'd  : 
Like  Phoebe  clad,  e'en  Phoebe's  self  she  seems, 
So  tall,  so  straight,  such  well-proportion'd  limbs.  900 
The  nicest  eye  did  no  distinction  know, 
But  that  the  goddess  bore  a  golden  bow. 
Distinguish'd  thus,  the  sight  she  cheated  too. 
Descending  from  Lycams,  Pan  admires 
The  matchless  nymph,  and  burns  with  new  desires. 
A  crown  of  pine  upon  his  head  he  wore  ;  966 

And  thus  began  her  pity  to  implore. 
But  ere  he  thus  began,  she  took  her  flight 
So  swift,  she  was  already  out  of  sight, 
Nor  staid  to  hear  the  courtship  of  the  god ;  970 

But  bent  her  course  to  Ladon's  gentle  flood : 
There  by  the  river  stopp'd;  and  tir'd  before, 
Relief  from  water-nymphs  her  pray'rs  implore. 
Now  while  the  lustful  god  with  speedy  pace, 
Just  thought  to  strain  her  in  a  strict  embrace,         975 
He  fill'd  his  arms  with  reeds, new-rising  on  the  place. 
And  while  he  sighs,  his  ill  success  to  find, 
The  tender  canes  were  shaken  by  the  wind  ; 
And  breath'd  a  mournful  air,  unheard  before ; 
That  much  surprising  Pan,  yet  pleas'd  him  more. 
Admiring  this  new  music,  Thou  (he  said),  981 

Who  canst  not  be  the  partner  of  my  bed, 
At  least  shall  be  the  consort  of  my  mind : 
And  often,  often  to  my  lips  be  join'd. 
He  form'd  the  reeds,  proportion'd  as  they  are,         985 
Unequal  in  their  length,  and  wax'd  with  care, 
They  still  retain  the  name  of  his  ungrateful  fair. 

While  Hermes  pip'd,  and  sang,  and  told  his  tale, 
The  keeper's  winking  eyes  began  to  fail, 

BOOK  I.  27 

And  drowsy  slumber  on  the  lids  to  creep ;  990 

Till  all  the  watchmen  were  at  length  asleep. 

Then  soon  the  god  his  voice  and  song  suppress'd  ; 

And,  with  his  pow'rful  rod,  confirm'd  his  rest : 

Without  delay  his  crooked  falchion  drew, 

And  at  one  fatal  stroke  the  keeper  slew.  995 

Down  from  the  rock  fell  the  dissever'd  head, 

Opening  its  eyes  in  death ;  and  falling,  bled ; 

And  mark'd  the  passage  with  a  crimson  trail : 

Thus  Argus  lies  in  pieces,  cold,  and  pale  ; 

And  all  his  hundred  eyes,  with  all  their  light,       1000 

Are  clos'd  at  once,  in  one  perpetual  night. 

These  Juno  takes,  that  they  no  more  may  fail, 

And  spreads  them  in  her  peacock's  gaudy  tail. 

Impatient  to  revenge  her  injur' d  bed, 
She  wreaks  her  anger  on  her  rival's  head ;  1005 

With  furies  frights  her  from  her  native  home, 
And  drives  her  gadding  round  the  world  to  roam. 
Nor  ceas'd  her  madness,  and  her  flight,  before 
She  touch 'd  the  limits  of  the  Pharian  shore. 
At  length,  arriving  on  the  banks  of  Nile,  1010 

Wearied  with  length  of  ways,  and  worn  with  toil, 
She  laid  her  down;  and,  leaning  on  her  knees, 
Invok'd  the  cause  of  all  her  miseries ; 
And  cast  her  languishing  regards  above, 
For  help  from  heav'n,  and  her  ungrateful  Jove.      1015 
She sigh'd,  she  wept,  she  lo*v'd,  'twas  all  she  could; 
And  with  unkindness  seem'd  to  tax  the  god. 
Last,  with  an  humble  pray'r,  she  begg'd  repose, 
Or  death  at  least,  to  finish  all  her  woes. 
Jove  heard  her  vows,  and,  with  a  flatt'ring  look,  1020 
In  her  behalf,  to  jealous  Juno  spoke. 
He  cast  his  arms  about  her  neck,  and  said, 
Dame,  rest  secure;  no  more  thy  nuptial  bed 
This  nymph  shall  violate  ;  by  Styx  I  swear, 
And  every  oath  that  binds  the  Thunderer.  1025 

The  goddess  was  appeas'd ;  and  at  the  word 
Was  16  to  her  former  shape  restor'd. 
The  rugged  hair  began  to  fall  away; 
The  sweetness  of  her  eyes  did  only  stay, 
Though  not  so  large :  her  crooked  horns  decrease  ; 
The  wideness  of  her  jaws  and  nostrils  cf  ase :         1031 


Her  hoofs  to  bands  return,  in  little  space  : 

The  five  long  taper  fingers  take  their  place; 

And  nothing  of  the  heifer  now  is  seen, 

Beside  the  native  whiteness  of  the  skin.  1035 

Erected  on  her  feet  she  walks  again ; 

And  two,  the  duty  of  the  four  sustain. 

She  tries  her  tongue  ;  her  silence  softly  breaks, 

And  fears  her  former  lowings  when  she  speaks: 

A  goddess  now,  through  all  th'  ^Egyptian  state ;  1040 

And  serv'd  by  priests,  who  in  white  linen  wait. 

Her  son  was  Epaphus,  at  length  believ'd 
The  son  of  Jove,  and  as  a  godreceiv'd, 
With  sacrifice  ador'd,  and  public  pray'rs, 
He  common  temples  with  his  mother  shares.         1045 
Equal  in  years,  and  rival  in  renown 
With  Epaphus,  the  youthful  Phaeton 
Like  honour  claims;  and  boasts  his  sire  the  Sun. 
His  haughty  looks,  and  his  assuming  air, 
The  son  of  Isis  could  no  longer  bear :  1050 

Thou  tak'st  thy  mother's  word  too  far,  said  he, 
And  hast  usurp'd  thy  boasted  pedigree. 
Go,  base  pretender  to  a  borrow'd  name. 
Thus  tax'd,  he  blush'd  with  anger  and  with  shame ; 
But  shame  repress'd  his  rage  :  the  daunted  youth 
Soon  seeks  his  mother,  and  inquires  the  truth.     105C 
Mother  (said  he),  this  infamy  was  thrown 
By  Epaphus  on  you,  and  me,  your  son. 
He  spoke  in  public,  told  it  to  my  face; 
Nor  durst  I  vindicate  the  dire  disgrace:  1060 

E'en  I,  the  bold,  the  sensible  of  wrong, 
Restrain'd  by  shame,  was  forc'd  to  hold  my  tongue. 
To  hear  an  open  slander  is  a  curse ; 
But  not  to  find  an  answer  is  a  worse. 
If  I  am  heav'n-begot,  assert  your  son  IOCS 

By  some  sure  sign ;  and  make  my  father  known, 
To  right  my  honour,  and  redeem  your  own. 
He  said,  and  saying,  cast  his  arms  about 
Her  neck,  and  begg'd  her  to  resolve  the  doubt. 

'Tis  hard  to  judge  if  Clymene  were  mov'd  1070 

More  by  his  pray'r,  whom  she  so  dearly  lov'd, 
Or  more  with  fury  fir'd,  to  find  her  name 
Traduc'd,  and  made  the  sport  of  common  fame. 

BOOK  II.  29 

She  stretch'd  her  arms  to  heav'n,  and  fix'd  her  eyes 

On  that  fair  planet,  that  adorns  the  skies  ; —        1075 

Now  by  those  beams  (said  she),  whose  holy  fires 

Consume  my  breast,  and  kindle  my  desires; 

By  him,  who  sees  us  both,  and  cheers  our  sight ; 

By  him,  the  public  miniver  of  light, 

I  swear  that  Sun  begot  thee  ;  if  I  lie,  1080 

Let  him  his  cheerful  influence  deny  : 

Let  him  no  more  this  perjur'd  creature  see; 

And  shine  on  all  the  world,  but  only  me. 

If  still  you  doubt  your  mother's  innocence, 

His  eastern  mansion  is  not  far  from  hence ;  1085 

With  little  pains  you  to  his  Leve  go, 

And  from  himself  your  parentage  may  know. 

With  joy  th'  ambitious  youth  his  mother  heard, 

And  eager,  for  the  journey  soon  prepar'd. 

He  longs  the  world  beneath  him  to  survey ;  109O 

To  guide  the  chariot ;  and  to  give  the  day. 

From  Merbe's  burning  sansls  he  bends  his  course, 

Nor  less  in  India  feels  his  father's  force  ; 

His  travel  urging,  till  he  came  in  sight, 

And  saw  the  palace  by  the  purple  light.  1095 



Tlie  story  of  Phaeton.  Phaeton's  sisters  transformed  into  trees. 
The  transformation  of  Cycnus  into  a  swan.  The  story  of  Calisto. 
The  story  of  Coronis,  and  birth  of  ./Esculapius.  Ocyrrhoe 
transformed  into  a  mare.  The  transformation  of  Battus  into  a 
touchstone.  The  story  of  Aglauros,  transformed  into  a  statue. 
The  rape  of  Europa. 

The  Sun's  bright  palace,  on  high  columns  rais'd, 

With  burnish'd  gold  and  flaming  jewels  blaz'd ; 

The  folding  gates  diffus'd  a  silver  light, 

And  with  a  milder  gleam  refresh'd  the  sight : 

Of  polish'd  iv'ry  was  the  cov'ring  wrought:  5 

The  matter  vied  not  with  the  sculptor's  thought, 

For  in  the  portal  was  display'd  on  high 

(The  work  of  Vulcan;  a  fictitious  sky ; 

A  waving  sea  th'  inferior  earth  embrae'd, 

And  gods  and  goddesses  the  waters  grae'd.  10 


JEgeon  here  a  mighty  whale  bestrode ; 

Triton,  and  Proteus  (the  deceiving  god), 

With  Doris,  here  were  carv'd,  and  all  her  train, 

Some  loosely  swimming  in  the  figur'd  main, 

While  some  on  rocks  their  drooping  hair  divide,        15 

And  some  on  fishes  through  the  waters  glide : 

Though  various  features  did  the  sisters  grace, 

A  sister's  likeness  was  in  ev'ry  face. 

On  earth  a  different  landscape  courts  the  eyes, 

Men,  towns,  and  beasts,  in  distant  prospects  rise,    20 

And  nymphs,  and  streams,and  woods,  and  rural  deities. 

O'er  all,  the  heav'n's  refulgent  image  shines : 

On  either  gate  were  six  engraven  signs. 

Here  Phaeton,  still  gaining  on  th'  ascent, 
To  his  suspected  father's  palace  went,  25 

Till  pressing  forward  through  the  bright  abode, 
He  saw  at  distance  the  illustrious  god  ; 
He  saw  at  distance,  or  the  dazzling  light 
Had  flash'd  too  strongly  oh  his  aching  sight. 

The  god  sits  high,  exalted  on  a  throne  30 

Of  blazing  gems,  with  purple  garments  on  ; 
The  Hours,  in  order  rang'd  on  either  hand, 
And  Days,  and  Months,  and  Years,  and  Ages  stand. 
Here  Spring  appears,  with  flow'ry  chaplets  bound ; 
Here  Summer,  in  her  wheaten  garland  crown'd ;    35 
Here  Autumn  the  rich  trodden  grapes  besmear ; 
And  hoary  Winter  shivers  in  the  rear. 

Phoebus  beheld  the  youth  from  off  his  throne ; 
That  eye,  which  looks  on  all,  was  fix'd  on  one. 
He  saw  the  boy's  confusion  in  bis  face,  40 

Surpris'd  at  all  the  wonders  of  the  place ; 
And  cries  aloud,  What  wants  my  son?  for  know, 
My  son  thou  art,  and  I  must  call  thee  so. 

Light  of  the  world,  the  trembling  youth  replies, 
Illustrious  parent !  since  you  don't  despise  45 

The  parent's  name,  some  certain  token  give, 
That  I  may  Clymen^'s  proud  boast  believe, 
Nor  longer  under  false  reproaehes  grieve. 

The  tender  sire  was  touched  with  what  he  said, 
And  flung  the  blaze  of  glories  from  his  head,  50 

And  bade  the  youth  advance ;— My  son  (said  he), 
Come  to  thy  father's  arms !  for  Clymene 

BOOK  II.  31 

Has  told  thee  true ;  a  parent's  name  I  own, 

And  deem  thee  worthy  to  be  call'd  my  son. 

As  a  sure  proof,  make  some  request,  and  I,  55 

Whate'er  it  be,  with  that  request  comply ; 

By  Styx  I  swear,  whose  waves  are  hid  in  night, 

And  roll  impervious  to  my  piercing  sight. 

The  youth,  transported,  asks,  without  delay, 
To  guide  the  Sun's  bright  chariot  for  a  day.  60 

The  god  repented  of  the  oath  he  took, 
For  anguish  thrice  his  radiant  head  he  shook; — 
My  son  (says  he),  some  other  proof  require, 
Rash  was  my  promise,  rash  is  thy  desire : 
I'd  fain  deny  this  wish,  which  thou  hast  made,        65 
Or,  what  I  can't  deny,  would  fain  dissuade. 
Too  vast  and  hazardous  the  task  appears, 
Nor  suited  to  thy  strength,  nor  to  thy  years. 
Thy  lot  is  mortal,  but  thy  wishes  fly 
Beyond  the  province  of  mortality :  70 

There  is  not  one  of  all  the  gods  that  dares 
(However  skill'd  in  other  great  affairs) 
To  mount  the  burning  axle-tree,  but  I ; 
Not  Jove  himself,  the  ruler  of  the  sky, 
That  hurls  the  three-fork'd  thunder  from  above,      75 
Dares  try  his  strength ;  yet  who  as  strong  as  Jove? 
The  steeds  climb  up  the  first  ascent  with  pain, 
And,  when  the  middle  firmament  they  gain, 
If  downward  from  the  heav'ns  my  head  I  bow, 
And  see  the  earth  and  ocean  hang  below,  80 

Ev'n  I  am  seiz'd  with  horror  and  affright, 
And  my  own  heart  misgives  me  at  the  sight. 
A  mighty  downfal  steeps  the  ev'ning  stage, 
And  steady  reins  must  curb  the  horses'  rage. 
Tethys  herself  has  fear'd  to  see  me  driv'n  85 

Down  headlong  from  the  precipice  of  heav'n. 
Besides,  consider  what  impetuous  force 
Turns  stars  and  planets  in  a  different  course. 
1  steer  against  their  motions ;  nor  am  I 
Bome  back  by  all  the  current  of  the  sky :  90 

But  how  could  you  resist  the  orbs  that  roll 
In  adverse  whirls,  and  stem  the  rapid  pole? 
But  you  perhaps  may  hope  for  pleasing  woods, 
And  stately  domes,  and  cities  fill'd  with  gods; 


While  through  a  thousand  snares  your  progress  lies,  95 

Where  forms  of  starry  monsters  stock  the  skies : 

For,  should  you  hit  the  doubtful  way  aright, 

The  Bull  with  stooping  horns  stands  opposite ; 

Next  him  the  bright  Hasmonian  bow  is  strung, 

And  next,  the  Lion's  grinning  visage  hung ;  100 

The  Scorpion's  claws  here  clasp  a  wide  extent, 

And  here  the  Crab's  in  lesser  clasps  are  bent. 

Nor  would  you  find  it  easy  to  compose 

The  mettled  steeds,  when  from  their  nostrils  flows 

The  scorching  fire  that  in  their  entrails  glows.         105 

Ev'n  I  their  headstrong  fury  scarce  restrain, 

When  they  grow  warm  and  restive  to  the  rein. 

Let  not  my  son  a  fatal  gift  require, 

But,  O  !  in  time,  recal  your  rash  desire ; 

You  ask  a  gift  that  may.  your  parent  tell,  110 

Let  these  my  fears  your  parentage  reveal; 

And  learn  a  father  from  a  father's  care  : 

Look  on  my  face ;  or  if  my  heart  lay  bare, 

Could  you  but  look,  you'd  read  the  father  there. 

Choose  out  a  gift  from  seas,  or  earth,  or  skies,         115 

For,  open  to  your  wish  all  nature  lies, 

Only  decline  this  one  unequal  task, 

For  'tis  a  mischief,  not  a  gift  you  ask. 

You  ask  a  real  mischief,  Phaeton : 

Nay  hang  not  thus  about  my  neck,  my  son :  120 

I  grant  your  wish,  and  Styx  has  heard  my  voice, 

Choose  what  you  will,  but  make  a  wiser  choice. 

Thus  did  the  god  th'  unwary  youth  advise ; 
But  he  still  longs  to  travel  through  the  skies ; 
When  the  fond  father  (for  in  vain  he  pleads)  125 

At  length  to  the  Vulcanian  chariot  leads. 
A  golden  axle  did  the  work  uphold, 
Gold  was  the  beam,  the  wheels  were  orb'd  with  gold. 
The  spokes  in  rows  of  silver  pleas'd  the  sight, 
The  seat  with  parti-colour'd  gems  was  bright;  130 

Apollo  shone  amid  the  glare  of  light. 
The  youth  with  secret  joy  the  work  surveys, 
When  now  the  Morn  disclos'd  her  purple  rays; 
The  stars  were  fled,  for  Lucifer  had  chas'd 
The  stars  away,  and  fled  himself  at  last.  155 

Soon  as  the  father  saw  the  rosy  morn, 

BOOK  II.  33 

And  the  moon  shining  with  a  blunter  horn, 

He  bade  the  nimble  Hours,  without  delay, 

Bring  forth  the  steeds;  the  nimble  Hours  obey: 

From  their  full  racks,  the  gen'rous  steeds  retire,     140 

Dropping  ambrosial  foams,  and  snorting  fire. 

Still  anxious  for  his  son,  the  God  of  Day, 

To  make  him  proof  against  the  burning  ray, 

His  temples  with  celestial  ointment  wet, 

Of  sov'reign  virtue  to  repel  the  heat:  145 

Then  fix'd  the  beamy  circle  on  his  head, 

And  fetch'd  a  deep,  foreboding  sigh,  and  said  : 

Take  this  at  least,  this  last  advice,  my  son ; 
Keep  a  stiff  rein,  and  move  but  gently  on : 
The  coursers  of  themselves  will  run  too  fast,  15® 

Your  art  must  be  to  moderate  their  haste. 
Drive  'em  not  on  directly  through  the  skies, 
But  where  the  zodiac's  winding  circle  lies, 
Along  the  midmost  zone :  but  sally  forth 
Nor  to  the  distant  South,  nor  stormy  North.  155 

The  horses'  hoofs  a  beaten  track  will  shew, 
But  neither  mount  too  high,  nor  sink  too  low. 
That  no  new  fires,  or  heav'n  or  earth  infest ; 
Keep  the  midway,  the  middle  way  is  best. 
Nor,  where  in  radiant  folds  the  serpent  twines,      160 
Direct  your  course,  nor  where  the  altar  shines. 
Shun  both  extremes;  the  rest  let  fortune  guide, 
And  better  for  thee  than  thyself  provide ! 
See,  while  I  speak,  the  shades  disperse  away, 
Aurora  gives  the  promise  of  a  day  ;  165 

I'm  call'd,  nor  can  I  make  a  longer  stay. 
Snatch  up  the  reins ;  or  still  th'  attempt  forsake, 
And  not  my  chariot,  but  my  counsel  take, 
While  yet  securely  on  the  earth  you  stand; 
Nor  touch  the  horses  with  too  rash  a  hand :  170 

Let  me  alone  to  light  the  world,  while  you 
Enjoy  those  beams  which  you  may  safely  view. 

He  spoke  in  vain;  the  youth  with  active  heat 
And  sprightly  vigour  vaults  into  the  seat ; 
And  joys  to  hold  the  reins,  and  fondly  gives  175 

Those  thanks  his  father  with  remorse  receives. 

Meanwhile  the  restless  horses  neigh'd  aloud, 
Breathing  out  fire,  and  pawing  where  they  stood. 
C  2 


Tethys,  not  knowing  what  had  pass'd,  gave  way, 

And  all  the  waste  of  heav'n  before  'em  lay.  180 

They  spring  together  out,  and  swiftly  bear 

The  flying  youth  through  clouds  and  yielding  air ; 

With  wingy  speed  outstrip  the  eastern  wind, 

And  leave  the  breezes  of  the  morn  behind. 

The  youth  was  light,  nor  could  he  fill  the  seat,        185 

Or  poise  the  chariot  with  its  wonted  weight : 

But  as  at  sea  th'  unballass'd  vessel  rides, 

Cast  to  and  fro,  the  sport  of  winds  and  tides ; 

So  in  the  bounding  chariot  toss'd  on  high, 

The  youth  is  hurried  headlong  through  the  sky.      190 

Soon  as  the  steeds  perceive  it,  they  forsake 

Their  stated  course,  and  leave  the  beaten  track. 

The  youth  was  in  a  maze,  nor  did  he  know 

Which  way  to  turn  the  reins,  or  where  to  go ; 

Nor  would  the  horses,  had  he  known,  obey.  195 

Then  the  sev'n  stars  first  felt  Apollo's  ray, 

And  wish'd  to  dip  in  the  forbidden  sea. 

The  folded  serpent  next  the  frozen  pole, 

Stiff"  and  benumb'd  before,  began  to  roll, 

And  rag'd  with  inward  heat,  and  threaten'd  war,  200 

And  shot  a  redder  light  from  ev'ry  star ; 

Nay,  and  'tis  said,  Bootes,  too,  that  fain  [wane. 

Thou  would'st  have  fled,  though  cumber'd  with  thy 

Th'  unhappy  youth  then,  bending  down  his  head, 
Saw  earth  and  ocean  far  beneath  him  spread.         205 
His  colour  chang'd,  he  started  at  the  sight, 
And  his  eyes  darken'd  by  too  great  a  light. 
Now  could  he  wish  the  fiery  steeds  untry'd, 
His  birth  obscure,  and  his  request  deny'd : 
Now  would  he  Merops  for  his  father  own,  210 

And  quit  his  boasted  kindred  to  the  Sun. 

So  fares  the  pilot,  when  his  ship  is  tost 
In  troubled  seas,  and  all  its  steerage  lost, 
He  gives  her  to  the  winds,  and  in  despair 
Seeks  his  last  refuge  in  the  gods  and  pray'r.  215 

What  could  be  do  1  his  eyes,  if  backward  cast, 
Find  a  long  path  he  had  already  pass'd ; 
If  forward,  still  a  longer  path  they  find : 
Both  he  compares,  and  measures  in  his  mind ; 
And  sometimes  casts  an  eye  upon  the  East,  220 

BOOK  II.  35 

And  sometimes  looks  on  the  forbidden  West. 

The  horses'  names  he  knew  not  in  the  fright ; 

Nor  would  he  loose  the  reins,  nor  could  he  hold'em  right. 

Now  all  the  horrors  of  the  heav'ns  he  spies, 
And  monstrous  shadows  of  prodigious  size,  225 

That,  deck'd  with  stars,  lie  scatter'd  o'er  the  skies. 
There  is  a  place  above,  where  Scorpio  bent, 
In  tail  and  arms  surrounds  a  vast  extent ; 
In  a  wide  circuit  of  the  heav'ns  he  shines, 
And  fills  the  place  of  two  celestial  signs.  230 

Soon  as  the  youth  beheld  him,  vext  with  heat, 
Brandish  his  sting,  and  in  his  poison  sweat, 
Half  dead,  with  sudden  fear,  he  dropp'd  the  reins; 
The  horses  felt  'em  loose  upon  their  manes, 
And,  flying  out  through  all  the  plains  above,  235 

Ran  uncontroll'd  where'er  their  fury  drove ; 
Rush'd  on  the  stars,  and  through  a  pathless  way, 
Of  unknown  regions,  hurry'd  on  the  day. 
And  now  above,  and  now  below  they  flew, 
And  near  the  earth  the  burning  chariot  drew.        240 

The  clouds  disperse  in  fumes,  the  wond'ring  Moon 
Beholds  her  brother's  steeds  beneath  her  own ; 
The  highlands  smoke,  cleft  by  the  piercing  rays, 
Or,  clad  with  woods,  in  their  own  fuel  blaze. 
Next  o'er  the  plains,  where  ripen'd  harvests  grow, 
The  running  conflagration  spreads  below :  246 

But  these  are  trivial  ills;  whole  cities  burn, 
And  peopled  kingdoms  into  ashes  turn. 

The  mountains  kindle  as  the  car  draws  near, 
Athos  and  Tmolus  red  with  fires  appear ;  250 

GSagrian  Haemus  (then  a  single  name) 
And  virgin  Helicon  increase  the  flame ; 
Taurus  and  GSte  glare  amid  the  sky, 
And  Ida,  spite  of  all  her  fountains,  dry. 
Eryx,  and  Othrys,  and  Cithseron,  glow,  255 

And  Rhodope,  no  longer  cloth'd  in  snow; 
High  l'indus,  Mimas,  and  Parnassus  sweat, 
And  ./Etna  rages  with  redoubled  heat. 
Ev'n  Scythia,  through  her  hoary  regions  warm'd, 
In  vain  with  all  her  native  frost  was  arm'd.  260 

Cover'd  with  flames,  the  tow'ring  Apennine, 
And  Caucasus,  and  proud  Olympus  shine; 


And,  where  the  long-extended  Alps  aspire, 
Now  stands  a  huge  continu'd  range  of  fire. 

Th'  astonish 'd  youth,  where'er  his  eyes  could  turn, 
Beheld  the  universe  around  him  burn  :  266 

The  world  was  in  a  blaze ;  nor  could  he  bear 
The  sultry  vapours,  and  the  scorching  air, 
Which  from  below,  as  from  a  furnace,  flow'd ; 
And  now  the  axle-tree  beneath  him  glow'd :  270 

Lost  in  the  whirling  clouds,  that  round  him  broke, 
And  white  with  ashes,  hov'ring  in  the  smoke, 
He  flew  where'er  the  horses  drove,  nor  knew 
Whither  the  horses  drove,  or  where  he  flew. 

'Twas  then,  they  say,  the  swarthy  moor  begun   275 
To  change  his  hue,  and  blacken  in  the  sun. 
Then  Libya  first,  of  all  her  moisture  drain'd, 
Became  a  barren  waste,  a  wild  of  sand. 
The  water-nymphs  lament  their  empty  urns, 
Boeotia,  robb'd  of  silver  Dirce  mourns,  280 

Corinth  Pyrene's  wasted  spring  bewails, 
And  Argos  grieves  whilst  Amymone  fails. 

The  floods  are  drain'd  from  ev'ry  distant  coast, 
Ev'n  Tana'is,  though  fix'd  in  ice,  was  lost. 
Enrag'd  Caicus  and  Lycormas  roar,  285 

And  Xanthus,  fated  to  be  burnt  once  more. 
The  fam'd  Meander,  that  unwearied  strays 
Through  mazy  windings,  smokes  in  ev'ry  maze. 
From  his  lov'd  Babylon  Euphrates  flies: 
The  big-swoln  Ganges  and  the  Danube  rise  290 

In  thick'ning  fumes,  and  darken  half  the  skies. 
In  flames  Ismenos  and  the  Phasis  roll'd, 
And  Tagus  floating  in  his  melted  gold. 
The  swans,  that  on  Cayster  often  try'd 
Their  tuneful  songs,  now  sung  their  last,  and  dy'd. 
The  frighted  Nile  ran  off,  and  under  ground  296 

Conceal'd  his  head,  nor  can  it  yet  be  found : 
His  sev'n  divided  currents  all  are  dry, 
And  where  they  roll'd,  sev'n  gaping  trenches  he : 
No  more  the  Rhine  or  Rhone  their  course  maintain , 
Nor  Tiber,  of  his  promis'd  empire  vain.  301 

The  ground,  deep-cleft,  admits  the  dazzling  ray, 
And  startles  Pluto  with  the  flash  of  day. 
The  seas  shrink  in,  and  to  the  sight  disclose 

BOOK  II.  37 

Wide  naked  plains,  where  once  their  billows  rose ; 
Their  rocks  are  all  discover'd,  and  increase  306 

The  number  of  the  scatter'd  Cyclades. 
The  fish  in  shoals  about  the  bottom  creep, 
Nor  longer  dares  the  crooked  dolphin  leap : 
Gasping  for  breath,  th'  unshapen  Phocse  die,  310 

And  on  the  boiling  wave  extended  lie. 
Nereus,  and  Doris,  with  her  virgin  train, 
Seek  out  the  last  recesses  of  the  main ; 
Beneath  unfathomable  depths  they  faint, 
And  secret  in  their  gloomy  caverns  pant.  315 

Stern  Neptune  thrice  above  the  waves  upheld 
His  face,  and  thrice  was  by  the  flames  repell'd. 
The  Earth  at  length,  on  ev'ry  side  embrac'd 
With  scalding  seas  that  floated  round  her  waist, 
When  now  she  felt  the  springs  and  rivers  come,    320 
And  crowd  within  the  hollow  of  her  womb, 
Uplifted  to  the  heav'ns  her  blasted  head, 
And  clapt  her  hand  upon  her  brows,  and  said 
( But  first  impatient  of  the  sultry  heat, 
Sunk  deeper  down,  and  sought  a  cooler  seat) :        325 
If  you,  great  king  of  gods,  my  death  approve, 
And  I  deserve  it,  let  me  die  by  Jove ; 
If  I  must  perish  by  the  force  of  fire, 
Let  me  transfix' d  with  thunderbolts  expire. 
See  whilst  I  speak,  my  breath  the  vapours  choke  330 
(For  now  her  face  lay  wrapt  in  clouds  of  smoke), 
See  my  sing'd  hair,  behold  my  faded  eye, 
And  wither'd  face,  where  heaps  of  cinders  lie ! 
And  does  the  plough  for  this  my  body  tear? 
This  the  reward  for  all  the  fruits  I  bear,  335 

Tortur'd  with  rakes,  and  harass'd  all  the  year? 
That  herbs  for  cattle  daily  I  renew, 
And  food  for  man,  and  frankincense  for  you? 
But  grant  me  guilty ;  what  has  Neptune  done? 
Why  are  his  waters  boiling  in  the  sun  ?  340 

The  wavy  empire,  which  by  lot  was  giv'n, 
Why  does  it  waste,  and  farther  shrink  from  heav'n? 
If  I  nor  he  your  pity  can  provoke, 
See  your  own  heav'ns,  the  heav'ns  begin  to  smoke! 
Should  once  the  sparkles  catch  those  bright  abodes, 
Destruction  seizes  on  the  heavens  and  gods ;  346 


Atlas  becomes  unequal  to  his  freight, 

And  almost  faints  beneath  the  glowing  weight. 

If  heav'n,  and  earth,  and  sea,  together  burn, 

All  must  again  into  their  chaos  turn.  350 

Apply  some  speedy  cure,  prevent  our  fate, 

And  succour  nature,  ere  it  be  too  late. 

She  ceas'd ;    for,  choked  with  vapours  round  her 
Down  to  the  deepest  shades  she  sunk  her  head. 

Jove  call'd  to  witness  ev'ry  pow'r  above,  355 

And  ev'n  the  god,  whose  son  the  chariot  drove, 
That  what  he  acts  he  is  compell'd  to  do, 
Or  universal  ruin  must  ensue. 
Straight  he  ascends  the  high  ethereal  throne, 
From  whence  he  us'd  to  dart  his  thunder  down,     360 
From  whence  his  show'rs  and  storms  he  used  to  pour; 
But  now  could  meet  with  neither  storm  nor  show'r. 
Then,  aiming  at  the  youth,  with  lifted  hand, 
Full  at  his  head  he  hurl'd  the  forky  brand, 
In  dreadful  thund'rings.    Thus  th'  almighty  sire    365 
Suppress'd  the  raging  of  the  fires  with  fire. 

At  once  from  life  and  from  the  chariot  driv'n, 
Th'  ambitious  boy  fell  thunder-struck  from  heaven. 
The  horses  started  with  a  sudden  bound, 
And  flung  the  reins  and  chariot  to  the  ground :       370 
The  studded  harness  from  their  necks  they  broke  ; 
Here  fell  a  wheel,  and  here  a  silver  spoke ; 
Here  were  the  beam  and  axle  torn  away; 
And  scatter'd  o'er  the  earth,  the  shining  fragments  lay. 
The  breathless  Phaeton,  with  flaming  hair  375 

Shot  from  the  chariot  like  a  falling  star, 
That  in  a  summer's  ev'ning  from  the  top 
Of  heav'n  drops  down,  or  seems  at  least  to  drop ; 
Till  on  the  Po  hi3  blasted  corse  was  hurl'd, 
Far  from  his  country,  in  the  western  world.  380 

The  Latian  nymphs  came  round  him,  and  amaz'd, 
On  the  dead  youth,  transfix'd  with  thunder,  gaz'd ; 
And,  whilst  yet  smoking  from  the  bolt  he  lay, 
His  shatter'd  body  to  a  tomb  convey, 
And  o'er  the  tomb  an  epitaph  devise :  385 

1  Here  he  who  drove  the  Sun's  bright  chariot  lies; 

BOOK  II.  39 

His  father's  fiery  steeds  he  could  not  guide, 
But  in  the  glorious  enterprize  he  died.' 

Apollo  hid  his  face,  and  pin'd  for  grief, 
And,  if  the  story  may  deserve  belief,  390 

The  space  of  one  whole  day  is  said  to  run, 
From  morn  to  wonted  ev'n,  without  a  sun  : 
The  burning  ruins,  with  a  fainter  ray, 
Supply  the  sun,  and  counterfeit  a  day, — 
A  day,  that  still  did  nature's  face  disclose :  395 

This  comfort  from  the  mighty  mischief  rose. 

But  Clymene,  enrag'd  with  grief,  laments, 
And  as  her  grief  inspires,  her  passion  vents : 
Wild  for  her  son,  and  frantic  in  her  woes, 
With  hair  dishevell'd  round  the  world  she  goes,     400 
To  seek  where'er  his  body  might  be  cast; 
Till  on  the  borders  of  the  Po,  at  last, 
The  name  inscrib'd  on  the  new  tomb  appears. 
The  dear,  dear  name,  she  bathes  in  flowing  tears, 
Hangs  o'er  the  tomb,  unable  to  depart,  405 

And  hugs  the  marble  to  her  throbbing  heart. 

Her  daughters  too  lament,  and  sigh,  and  mourn 
(A  fruitless  tribute  to  their  brother's  urn), 
And  beat  their  naked  bosoms,  and  complain, 
And  call  aloud  for  Phaeton,  in  vain :  410 

All  the  long  night  their  mournful  watch  they  keep, 
And  all  the  day  stand  round  the  tomb  and  weep. 

Four  times,  revolving,  the  full  moon  return'd; 
So  long  the  mother  and  the  daughters  mourn'd : 
When  now  the  eldest,  Phaethusa,  strove  415 

To  rest  her  weary  limbs,  but  could  not  move ; 
Lampetia  would  have  helped  her,  but  she  found 
Herself  withheld,  and  rooted  on  the  ground : 
A  third  in  wild  affliction,  as  she  grieves, 
Would  rend  her  hair,  but  fills  her  hand  with  leaves ; 
One  sees  her  thighs  transform'd,  another  views     421 
Her  arms  shot  out,  and  brandling  into  boughs. 
And  now  their  legs  and  breasts,  and  bodies  stood 
Crusted  with  bark,  and  hard'ning  into  wood ; 
But  still  above  were  female  heads  display'd,  425 

And  mouths  that  call'd  the  mother  to  their  aid. 
What  could,  alas!  the  weeping  mother  do? 
From  this  to  that  with  eager  haste  she  flew, 


And  kiss'd  her  sprouting  daughters  as  they  grew. 
She  tears  the  bark  that  to  each  body  cleaves,  430 

And  from  their  verdant  fingers  strips  the  leaves: 
The  blood  came  trickling,  where  she  tore  away 
The  leaves  and  bark:  The  maids  were  heard  to  say, 
Forbear,  mistaken  parent,  O  !  forbear; 
A  wounded  daughter  in  each  tree  you  tear;  435 

Farewell!  for  ever.     Here  the  bark  increas'd, 
Clos'd  on  their  faces,  and  their  words  suppress'd. 

The  new-made  trees  in  tears  of  amber  run ; 
Which,  harden'd  into  value  by  the  sun, 
Distil  for  ever  on  the  streams  below :  440 

The  limpid  streams  their  radiant  treasure  shew, 
Mixt  in  the  sand  ;  whence  the  rich  drops  convey'd, 
Shine  in  the  dress  of  the  bright  Latian  maid. 

Cycnus  beheld  the  nymphs  transform'd,  ally'd 
To  their  dead  brother  on  the  mortal  side,  415 

In  friendship  and  affection  nearer  bound; 
He  left  the  cities,  and  the  realms  he  own'd, 
Through  pathless  fields,  and  lonely  shores  to  range, 
And  woods,  made  thicker  by  the  sisters'  change. 
Whilst  here,  within  the  dismal  gloom  alone,  450 

The  melancholy  monarch  made  his  moan ; 
His  voice  was  lessen'd,  as  he  try'd  to  speak, 
And  issu'd  through  a  long  extended  neck : 
His  hair  transforms  to  down,  his  fingers  meet, 
In  skinny  films,  and  shape  his  oary  feet ;  455 

From  both  his  sides  the  wings  and  feathers  break : 
And  from  his  mouth  proceeds  a  blunted  beak: 
All  Cycnus  now  into  a  swan  was  turn'd, 
Who,  still  rememb'ring  how  his  kinsman  burn'd, 
To  solitary  pools  and  lakes  retires,  4C<» 

And  loves  the  waters  as  oppos'd  to  fires. 

Meanwhile  Apollo  in  a  gloomy  shade 
(The  native  lustre  of  his  brows  decay'd), 
Indulging  sorrow,  sickens  at  the  sight 
Of  his  own  sunshine,  and  abhors  the  light :  4C5 

The  hidden  griefs,  that  in  his  bosom  rise, 
Sadden  his  looks,  and  overcast  his  eyes, 
As  when  some  dusky  orb  obstructs  his  ray, 
And  sullies  in  a  dim  eclipse  the  day. 

BOOK  II.  41 

Now  secretly  with  inward  griefs  he  pin'd,  470 

Now  warm  resentments  to  his  griefs  he  join'd, 
And  now  renounc'd  his  office  to  mankind. 
E'er  since  the  birth  of  time  (said  he),  I've  borne 
A  long  ungrateful  toil  without  return ; 
Let  now  some  other  manage,  if  he  dare,  475 

The  fiery  steeds,  and  mount  the  burning  car; 
Or,  if  none  else,  let  Jove  his  fortune  try, 
And  learn  to  lay  his  murd'ring  thunder  by; 
Then  will  he  own,  perhaps  but  own  too  late, 
My  son  deserv'd  not  so  severe  a  fate.  480 

The  gods  stand  round  him,  as  he  mourns,  and  pray 
He  would  resume  the  conduct  of  the  day, 
Nor  let  the  world  be  lost  in  endless  night : 
Jove  too  himself,  descending  from  his  height, 
Excuses  what  had  happen'd,  and  intreats,  485 

Majestically  mixing  pray'rs  and  threats. 
Prevail'd  upon,  at  length,  again  he  took 
The  harness'd  steeds,  that  still  with  horror  shook. 
And  plies  'em  with  the  lash,  and  whips  'em  on, 
And,  as  he  whips,  upbraids  'em  with  his  son.  490 

The  day  was  settled  in  its  course ;  and  Jove 
Walk'd  the  wide  circuit  of  the  heav'ns  above, 
To  search  if  any  cracks  or  flaws  were  made; 
But  all  was  safe :  the  earth  he  then  survey'd, 
And  cast  an  eye  on  ev'ry  different  coast,  495 

And  ev'ry  land ;  but  on  Arcadia  most. 
Her  fields  he  cloth'd,  and  cheer'd  her  blasted  face, 
With  running  fountains,  and  with  springing  grass. 
No  tracts  of  heav'n's  destructive  fire  remain, 
The  fields  and  woods  revive,  and  nature  smiles  again. 

But  as  the  god  walk'd  to  and  fro  the  earth,  501 

And  rais'd  the  plants,  and  gave  the  spring  its  birth, 
By  chance  a  fair  Arcadian  nymph  he  view'd, 
And  felt  the  lovely  charmer  in  his  blood. 
The  nymph  nor  spun,  nor  dress'd  with  artful  pride, 
Her  vest  was  gather'd  up,  her  hair  was  ty'd;  506 

Now  in  her  hand  a  slender  spear  she  bore, 
Now  a  light  quiver  on  her  shoulders  wore ; 
To  chaste  Diana  from  her  youth  inclin'd, 
The  sprightly  warriors  of  Hie  wood  she  join'd.        510 


Diana  too  the  gentle  huntress  lov'd, 

Nor  was  there  one  of  all  the  nymphs  that  rov'd 

O'er  Mtenalus,  amid  the  maiden  throng, 

More  favour'd  once; — but  favour  lasts  not  long. 

The  sun  now  shone  in  all  its  strength,  and  drove 
The  heated  virgin,  panting  to  a  grove ;  516 

The  grove  around  a  grateful  shadow  cast : 
She  dropp'd  her  arrows,  and  her  bow  unbrac'd; 
She  flung  herself  on  the  cool  grassy  bed ; 
And  on  the  painted  quiver  rais'd  her  head.  520 

Jove  saw  the  charming  huntress  unprepar'd, 
Stretch'd  on  the  verdant  turf  without  a  guard. — 
Here  I  am  safe  (he  cries)  from  Juno's  eye ; 
Or,  should  my  jealous  queen  the  theft  descry, 
Yet  would  I  venture  on  a  theft  like  this,  525 

And  stand  her  rage  for  such,  for  such  a  bliss ! — 
Diana's  shape  and  habit  straight  he  took, 
Soften'd  his  brows,  and  smooth'd  his  awful  look, 
And  mildly  in  a  female  accent  spoke : 
How  fares  my  girl?  how  went  the  morning  chase? 
To  whom  the  virgin,  starting  from  the  grass,  531 

All  hail,  bright  deity,  whom  I  prefer 
To  Jove  himself,  though  Jove  himself  were  here. 
The  god  was  nearer  than  she  thought,  and  heard, 
Well  pleas'd,  himself  before  himself  preferr'd.         535 

He  then  salutes  her  with  a  warm  embrace; 
And,  ere  she  half  had  told  the  morning  chase, 
With  love  inflam'd,  and  eager  on  his  bliss, 
Smother'd  her  words  and  stopp'd  her  with  a  kiss; 
His  kisses  with  unwonted  ardour  glow'd,  540 

Nor  could  Diana's  shape  conceal  the  god. 
The  virgin  did  whate'er  a  virgin  could 
(Sure  Juno  must  have  pardon'd,  had  she  view'd); 
With  all  her  might  against  his  force  she  strove ; 
But  how  can  mortal  maids  contend  with  Jove  ?       545 

Possest  at  length  of  what  his  heart  desir'd, 
Back  to  his  heav'ns  th'  exulting  god  retir'd. 
The  lovely  huntress,  rising  from  the  grass, 
With  downcast  eyes,  and  with  a  blushing  face, 
By  shame  confounded,  and  by  fear  dismay'd,  550 

Flew  from  the  covert  of  the  guilty  shads, 
And  almost,  in  the  tumult  of  her  mind, 

BOOK  II.  43 

Left  her  forgotten  bow  and  shafts  behind. 
But  now  Diana,  with  a  sprightly  train 
Of  quiver'd  virgins,  bounding  o'er  the  plain,  555 

Call'd  to  the  nymph ;  the  nymph  began  to  fear 
A  second  fraud,  a  Jove  disguis'd  in  her; 
But,  when  she  saw  the  sister  nymphs,  suppress'd 
Her  rising  fears,  and  mingled  with  the  rest. 

How  in  the  look  does  conscious  guilt  appear !      560 
Slowly  she  niov'd,  and  loiter'd  in  the  rear; 
Nor  lightly  tripp'd,  nor  by  the  goddess  ran, 
As  once  she  used,  the  foremost  of  the  train. 
Her  looks  were  flush'd,  and  sullen  was  her  mien, 
That  sure  the  virgin  goddess  (had  she  been  505 

Aught  but  a  virgin)  must  the  guilt  have  seen : 
'Tis  said  the  nymphs  saw  all,  and  guess'd  aright. 
And  now  the  Moon  had  nine  times  lost  her  light, 
When  Dian,  fainting  in  the  mid-day  beams, 
Found  a  cool  covert,  and  refreshing  streams,  570 

That  in  soft  murmurs  through  the  forest  flow'd, 
And  a  smooth  bed  of  shining  gravel  shew'd. 
A  covert  so  obscure,  and  streams  so  clear, 
The  goddess  praised: — And  now  no  spies  are  near, 
Let's  strip,  my  gentle  maids,  and  wash  (she  cries). 
Pleas'd  with  the  motion,  ev'ry  maid  complies  :        576 
Only  the  blushing  huntress  stood  confus'd, 
And  form'd  delays,  and  her  delays  excus'd ; 
In  vain  excus'd  :  her  fellows  round  her  press'd, 
And  the  reluctant  nymph  by  force  undress'd.  580 

The  naked  huntress  all  her  shame  reveal'd, 
In  vain  her  hands  the  pregnant  womb  conceal'd; 
Begone !  the  goddess  cries,  with  stern  disdain ; 
Begone !  nor  dare  the  hallow'd  stream  to  stain ; 
She  fled,  for  ever  banish'd  from  the  train.  585 

This,  Juno  heard,  who  long  had  watch'd  her  time 
To  punish  the  detested  rival's  crime ; 
The  time  was  come :  for,  to  enrage  her  more, 
A  lovely  boy  the  teeming  rival  bore. 
The  goddess  cast  a  furious  look,  and  cry'd,  590 

It  is  eonugh !  I'm  fully  satisfied ! 
This  boy  shall  stand  a  living  mark,  to  prove 
My  husband's  baseness,  and  the  strumpet's  love  : 
But  vengeance  shall  awake :  those  guilty  charms 


That  drew  the  Thunderer  from  Juno's  arms,  595 

No  longer  shall  their  wonted  force  retain, 
Nor  please  the  god,  nor  make  the  mortal  vain. 

This  said,  her  hand  within  her  hair  she  wound, 
Swung  her  to  earth,  and  dragg'd  her  on  the  ground; 
The  prostrate  wretch  lifts  up  her  arms  in  pray'r ;   600 
Her  arms  grow  shaggy,  and  deform'd  with  hair, 
Her  nails  are  sharpen'd  into  pointed  claws, 
Her  hands  bear  half  her  weight,  and  turn  to  paws ; 
Her  lips,  that  once  could  tempt  a  god,  begin 
To  grow  distorted  in  an  ugly  grin.  605 

And,  lest  the  supplicating  brute  might  reach 
The  ears  of  Jove,  she  was  depriv'd  of  speech : 
Her  surly  voice  through  a  hoarse  passage  came, 
In  savage  sounds:  her  mind  was  still  the  same. 
The  furry  monster  fix'd  her  eyes  above,  610 

And  heav'd  her  new,  unwieldy  paws  to  Jove, 
And  begg'd  his  aid  with  inward  groans;  and  though 
She  could  not  call  him  false,  she  thought  him  so. 

How  did  she  fear  to  lodge  in  woods  alone, 
And  haunt  the  fields  and  meadows,  once  her  own  ! 
How  often  would  the  deep-mouth'd  dogs  pursue,    616 
Whilst  from  her  hounds  the  frighted  huntress  flew  ! 
How  did  she  fear  her  fellow-brutes,  and  shun 
The  shaggy  bear,  though  now  herself  was  one! 
How  from  the  sight  of  rugged  wolves  retire,  620 

Although  the  grim  Lycaon  was  her  sire! 

But  now  her  son  had  fifteen  summers  told, 
Fierce  at  the  chase,  and  in  the  forest  bold; 
When  as  he  beat  the  woods  in  quest  of  prey, 
He  chanc'd  to  rouse  his  mother  where  she  lay.       6*25 
She  knew  her  son,  and  kept  him  in  her  sight, 
And  fondly  gaz'd:  the  boy  was  in  a  fright, 
And  aim'd  a  pointed  arrow  at  her  breast, 
And  would  have  slain  his  mother  in  the  beast; 
But  Jove  forbad,  and  snatch'd  'em  through  the  air 
In  whirlwinds  up  to  heav'n,  and  fix'd  'em  there;   631 
Where  the  new  constellations  nightly  rise, 
And  add  a  lustre  to  the  northern  skies. 

When  Juno  saw  the  rival  in  her  height, 
Spangled  with  stars,  and  circled  round  with  light, 
She  sought  old  Ocean  in  his  deep  abodes,  636 

BOOK  H.  45 

And  Tethys,  both  rever'd  among  the  gods. 

They  ask  what  brings  her  there  1  Ne'er  ask  (says  she), 

What  brings  me  here ;  heav'n  is  no  place  for  me. 

You'll  see,  when  night  has  cover'd  all  things  o'er,  640 

Jove's  starry  bastard,  and  triumphant  whore, 

Usurp  the  heavens ;  you'll  see  'em  proudly  roll 

In  their  new  orbs,  and  brighten  all  the  pole. 

And  who  shall  now  on  Juno's  altars  wait, 

When  those  she  hates  grow  greater  by  her  hate  1   645 

I  on  the  nymph  a  brutal  form  impress'd, 

Jove  to  a  goddess  has  transform'd  the  beast ; 

This,  this  was  all  my  weak  revenge  could  do : 

But  let  the  god  his  chaste  amours  pursue, 

And  as  he  acted  after  Ib's  rape,  650 

Restore  th'  adultress  to  her  former  shape ; 

Then  may  he  cast  his  Juno  off,  and  lead 

The  great  Lycaon's  offspring  to  his  bed. 

But  you,  ye  venerable  pow'rs,  be  kind, 

And,  if  my  wrongs  a  due  resentment  find,  655 

Receive  not  in  your  waves  their  setting  beams, 

Nor  let  the  glaring  strumpet  taint  your  streams. 

The  goddess  ended,  and  her  wish  was  giv'n : 
Back  she  returned  in  triumph  up  to  heav'n  ; 
Her  gaudy  peacocks  drew  her  through  the  skies,    660 
Their  tails  were  spotted  with  a  thousand  eyes; 
The  eyes  of  Argus  on  their  tails  were  rang'd, 
At  the  same  time  the  raven's  colour  chang'd. 

The  raven  once  in  snowy  plumes  was  drest, 
White  as  the  whitest  dove's  unsully'd  breast,  665 

Fair  as  the  guardian  of  the  Capitol, 
Soft  as  the  swan;  a  large  and  lovely  fowl; 
His  tongue,  his  prating  tongue,  had  chang'd  him  quite 
To  sooty  blackness  from  the  purest  white. 

The  story  of  his  change  shall  here  be  told :  670 

In  Thessaly  there  liv'd  a  nymph  of  old, 
Coronis  nam'd;  a  peerless  maid  she  shin'd, 
Confest  the  fairest  of  the  fairer  kind. 
Apollo  lov'd  her,  till  her  guilt  he  knew, 
While  true  she  was,  or  whilst  he  thought  her  true ; 
But  his  own  bird,  the  raven,  chanc'd  to  find  676 

The  false  one  with  a  secret  rival  join'd. 


Coronis  begg'd  him  to  suppress  the  tale, 

But  could  not  with  repeated  pray'rs  prevail. 

His  milk-white  pinions  to  the  god  he  ply'd ;  680 

The  busy  daw  flew  with  him  side  by  side, 

And  by  a  thousand  teasing  questions  drew 

Th'  important  secret  from  him  as  they  flew. 

The  daw  gave  honest  counsel,  though  despis'd, 

And,  tedious  in  her  tattle,  thus  advis'd :  085 

Stay,  silly  bird,  th'  ill-natur'd  task  refuse, 
Nor  be  the  bearer  of  unwelcome  news. 
Be  warn'd  by  my  example :  you  discern 
What  now  I  am,  and  what  I  was  shall  learn. 
My  foolish  honesty  was  all  my  crime ;  690 

Then  hear  my  story. — Once  upon  a  time, 
The  two-shap'd  Ericthonius  had  his  birth 
(Without  a  mother)  from  the  teeming  Earth ; 
Minerva  nurs'd  him,  and  the  infant  laid 
Within  a  chest  of  twining  osiers  made.  695 

The  daughters  of  king  Cecrops  undertook 
To  guard  the  chest,  commanded  not  to  look 
On  what  was  hid  within.     I  stood  to  see 
The  charge  obey'd,  perch'd  on  a  neighb'ring  tree. 
The  sisters  Pandrosos  and  Herse  keep  700 

The  strict  command ;  Aglauros  needs  would  peep, 
And  saw  the  monstrous  infant  in  a  fright, 
And  call'd  her  sisters  to  the  hideous  sigh.-:: 
A  boy's  soft  shape  did  to  the  waist  prevail, 
But  the  boy  ended  in  a  dragon's  tail.  705 

I  told  the  stern  Minerva  all  that  pass'd; 
But  for  my  pains,  discarded  and  disgrac'd, 
The  frowning  goddess  drove  me  from  her  sight, 
And  for  a  fav'rite  chose  the  bird  of  night. 
Be  then  no  tell-tale:  for  I  think  my  wrong  710 

Enough  to  teach  a  bird  to  hold  her  tongue. 

But  you,  perhaps,  may  think  I  was  remov'd, 
As  never  by  the  heav'nly  maid  belov'd : 
But  I  waslov'd;  ask  Pallas  if  I  lie; 
Though  Pallas  hate  me  now,  she  won't  deny :         715 
For  I,  whom  in  a  feather'd  shape  you  view, 
Was  once  a  maid,  (by  heav'n  the  story's  true !) 
A  blooming  maid,  and  a  king's  daughter  too. 
A  crowd  of  lovers  own'd  my  beauty's  charms ; 

BOOK  II.  47 

My  beauty  was  the  cause  of  all  my  harms :  720 

Neptune,  as  on  his  shores  I  wont  to  rove, 

Observ'd  me  in  my  walks,  and  fell  in  love. 

He  made  his  courtship,  he  confess'd  his  pain, 

And  offer'd  force  when  all  his  arts  were  vain : 

Swift  he  pursu'd;  I  ran  along  the  strand,  725 

Till,  spent  and  weary'd  on  the  sinking  sand, 

I  shriek'd  aloud,  with  cries  I  fill'd  the  air 

To  gods  and  men :  nor  god  nor  man  was  there : 

A  virgin  goddess  heard  a  virgin's  pray'r. 

For,  as  my  arms  I  lifted  to  the  skies,  730 

I  saw  black  feathers  from  my  fingers  rise : 

I  strove  to  fling  my  garment  on  the  ground  ; 

My  garment  turn'd  to  plumes,  and  girt  me  round  : 

My  hands  to  beat  my  naked  bosom  try ; 

Nor  naked  bosom  now  nor  hands  had  1 :  735 

Lightly  I  tripp'd,  nor  weary  as  before 

Sunk  in  the  sand,  but  skimm'd  along  the  shore  ; 

Till,  rising  on  my  wings,  I  was  preferr'd 

To  be  the  chaste  Minerva's  virgin  bird : 

Preferr'd  in  vain !  I  now  am  in  disgrace :  740 

Nyctimene,  the  owl,  enjoys  my  place. 

On  her  incestuous  life  I  need  not  dwell 
( In  Lesbos  still  the  horrid  tale  they  tell), 
And  of  her  dire  amours  you  must  have  heard, 
For  which  she  now  does  penance  to  a  bird,  745 

That,  conscious  of  her  shame,  avoids  the  light, 
And  loves  the  gloomy  cov'ring  of  the  night; 
The  birds,  where'er  she  flutters,  scare  away 
The  hooting  wretch,  and  drive  her  from  the  day. 

The  raven,  urg'd,  at  such  impertinence  750 

Grew  passionate,  it  seems,  and  took  offence, 
And  curs'd  the  harmless  daw ;  the  daw  withdrew ; 
The  raven  to  her  injur'd  patron  flew, 
And  found  him  out,  and  told  the  fatal  truth 
Of  false  Coronis  and  the  favour'd  youth.  755 

The  god  was  wroth ;  the  colour  left  his  look, 
The  wreath  his  head,  the  harp  his  hand  forsook : 
His  silver  bow  and  feather'd  shafts  he  took, 
And  lodg'd  an  arrow  in  the  tender  breast, 
That  had  so  often  to  his  own  been  prest,  760 

Down  fell  the  wounded  nymph,  and  sadly  groan'd, 


And  pull'd  his  arrow,  reeking,  from  the  wound; 

And  welt'ring  in  her  blood,  thus  faintly  cry'd: 

Ah  cruel  god!  though  I  have  justly  dy'd, 

What  has,  alas!  my  unborn  infant  done,  765 

That  he  should  fall,  and  two  expire  in  one  ? 

This  said,  in  agonies  she  fetch'd  her  breath ; 
The  god  dissolves  in  pity  at  her  death ; 
He  hates  the  bird  that  made  her  falsehood  known, 
And  hates  himself  for  what  himself  had  done  ;        770 
The  feather'd  shaft,  that  sent  her  to  the  fates, 
And  own  his  hand,  that  sent  the  shaft,  he  hates. 
Fain  would  he  heal  the  wound,  and  ease  her  pain, 
And  tries  the  compass  of  his  art  in  vain. 
Soon  as  he  saw  the  lovely  nymph  expire,  775 

The  pile  made  ready,  and  the  kindling  fire, 
With  sighs  and  groans  her  obsequies  he  kept, 
And,  if  a  god  could  weep,  the  god  had  wept. 
Her  corse  he  kiss'd,  and  heav'nly  incense  brought, 
And  solemniz'd  the  death  himself  had  wrought.     780 

But,  lest  his  offspring  should  her  fate  partake, 
Spite  of  th'  immortal  mixture  in  his  make, 
He  ripp'd  her  womb,  and  set  the  child  at  large, 
And  gave  him  to  the  Centaur  Chiron's  charge : 
Then  in  his  fury  black'd  the  raven  o'er,  785 

And  bid  him  prate  in  his  white  plumes  no  more. 

Old  Chiron  took  the  babe  with  secret  joy, 
Proud  of  the  charge  of  the  celestial  boy. 
His  daughter  too,  whom  on  the  sandy  shore 
The  nymph  Charicle  to  the  Centaur  bore,  790 

With  hair  dishevell'd  on  her  shoulders  came 
To  see  the  child,  Ocyrrhbe  was  her  name ; 
She  knew  her  father's  arts,  and  could  rehearse 
The  depths  of  prophecy  in  sounding  verse. 
Once  as  the  sacred  infant  she  survey'd,  795 

The  god  was  kindled  in  the  raving  maid, 
And  thus  she  utter'd  her  prophetic  tale: — 
Hail,  great  physician  of  the  world,  all  hail! 
Hail,  mighty  infant,  who,  in  years  to  come, 
Shall  heal  the  nations,  and  defraud  the  tomb !         800 
Swift  be  thy  growth !  thy  triumphs  unconfin'd  ! 
Make  kingdoms  thicker,  and  increase  mankind. 

BOOK  II.  49 

Thy  daring  art  shall  animate  the  dead, 

And  draw  the  thunder  on  thy  guilty  head: 

Then  shalt  thou  die,  but  from  the  dark  abode  805 

Rise  up  victorious,  and  be  twice  a  god. 

And  thou,  my  sire,  not  destin'd  by  thy  birth 

To  turn  to  dust,  and  mix  with  common  earth, 

How  will  thou  toss,  and  rave,  and  long  to  die, 

And  quit  thy  claim  to  immortality ;  810 

When  thou  shalt  feel,  enrag'd  with  inward  pains, 

The  Hydra's  venom  rankling  in  thy  veins? 

The  gods,  in  pity,  shall  contract  thy  date, 

And  give  thee  over  to  the  power  of  fate. 

Thus,  ent'ring  into  destiny,  the  maid  815 

The  secrets  of  offended  Jove  betray'd: 
More  had  she  still  to  say ;  but  now  appears 
Opprest  with  sobs  and  sighs,  and  drown'd  in  tears. — 
My  voice,  says  she,  is  gone,  my  language  fails; 
Through  ev'ry  limb  my  kindred  shape  prevails ;      820 
Why  did  the  god  this  fatal  gift  impart, 
And  with  prophetic  raptures  swell  my  heart ! 
What  new  desires  are  these  ?  I  long  to  pace 
O'er  flow'ry  meadows,  and  to  feed  on  grass ; 
I  hasten  to  a  brute,  a  maid  no  more  ;  825 

But  why,  alas!  am  I  transform'd  all  o'er? 
My  sire  does  half  a  human  shape  retain, 
And  in  his  upper  parts  preserves  the  man. 

Her  tongue  no  more  distinct  complaints  affords, 
But  in  shrill  accents,  and  mis-shapen  words,  830 

Pours  forth  such  hideous  wailings,  as  declare 
The  human  form  confounded  in  the  mare : 
Till  by  degrees  accomplish'd  in  the  beast, 
She  neigh'd  outright,  and  all  the  steed  express'd. 
Her  stooping  body  on  her  hands  is  borne,  835 

Her  hands  are  turn'd  to  hoofs,  and  shod  in  horn; 
Her  yellow  tresses  ruffle  in  a  mane, 
And,  in  a  flowing  tail,  she  frisks  her  train. 
The  mare  was  nnish'd  in  her  voice  and  look, 
And  a  new  name  from  the  new  figure  took.  840 

Sore  wept  the  Centaur,  and  to  Phoebus  pray'd : 
But  how  could  Phoebus  give  the  Centaur  aid  ? 
Degraded  of  his  pow'r  by  angry  Jove, 


In  Elis  then  a  herd  of  beeves  he  drove ; 

And  wielded  in  his  hand  a  staff  of  oak,  845 

And  o'er  his  shoulders  threw  a  shepherd's  cloak ; 

On  sev'n  compacted  reeds  he  us'd  to  play, 

And  on  his  rural  pipe  to  waste  the  day. 

As  once,  attentive  to  his  pipe,  he  play'd, 
The  crafty  Herrnes  from  the  god  convey'd  850 

A  drove,  that  sep'rate  from  their  fellows  stray'd ; 
The  theft  an  old,  insidious  peasant  view'd 
(They  call  him  Battus  in  the  neighbourhood), 
Hir'd  by  a  wealthy  Pylian  prince  to  feed 
His  fav'rite  mares,  and  watch  the  gen'rous  breed. 
The  thievish  god  suspected  him,  and  took  856 

The  hind  aside,  and  thus  in  whispers  spoke  : — 
Discover  not  the  theft,  whoe'er  thou  be, 
And  take  that  milk-white  heifer  for  the  fee. — 
Go,  stranger  (cries  the  clown),  securely  on,  SCO 

That  stone  shall  sooner  tell;  and  shew'd  a  stone. 

The  god  withdrew,  but  straight  return'd  again, 
In  speech  and  habit  like  a  country  swain ; 
And  cries  out,  Neighbour  hast  thou  seen  a  stray 
Of  bullocks  and  of  heifers  pass  this  way  ?  865 

In  the  recov'ry  of  my  cattle  join, 
A  bullock  and  a  heifer  shall  be  thine. — 
The  peasant  quick  replies :  You'll  find  'em  there 
In  yon  dark  vale : — and  in  the  vale  they  were. 
The  double  bribe  had  his  false  heart  beguil'd :         870 
The  god,  successful  in  the  trial,  smil'd : — 
And  dost  thou  thus  betray  myself  to  me  ? 
Me  to  myself  do3t  thou  betray  ?  says  he : — 
Then  to  a  Touch-stone  turns  the  faithless  spy, 
And  in  his  name  records  his  infamy.  875 

This  done,  the  god  flew  up  on  high,  and  pass'd 
O'er  lofty  Athens,  by  Minerva  grac'd, 
And  wide  Munichia,  whilst  his  eyes  survey 
All  the  vast  region  that  beneath  him  lay. 

'Twas  now  the  feast,  when  each  Athenian  maid 
Her  yearly  homage  to  Minerva  paid;  881 

In  canisters,  with  garlands  cover'd  o'er, 
High  on  their  heads  their  mystic  gift  they  bore : 
And  now,  returning  in  a  solemn  train, 
The  troop  of  shining  virgins  fill'd  the  plain.  885 

BOOK  II.  51 

The  god,  well-pleas'd,  beheld  the  pompous  show, 
And  saw  the  bright  procession  pass  below ; 
Then  veer'd  about,  and  took  a  wheeling  flight, 
And  hover'd  o'er  them :  As  the  spreading  kite, 
That  smells  the  slaughter'd  victim  from  on  high,    890 
Flies  at  a  distance,  if  the  priests  are  nigh, 
And  sails  around,  and  keeps  it  in  her  eye ; 
So  kept  the  god  the  virgin  quire  in  view, 
And  in  slow  winding  circles  round  them  flew. 

As  Lucifer  excels  the  meanest  star,  895 

Or,  as  the  full-orb'd  Phoebe  Lucifer ; 
So  much  did  Herse  all  the  rest  outvie, 
And  gave  a  grace  to  the  solemnity. 
Hermes  was  fir'd,  as  in  the  clouds  he  hung  : 
So  the  cold  bullet,  that,  with  fury  slung  900 

From  Balearic  engines,  mounts  on  high, 
Glows  in  the  whirl,  and  burns  along  the  sky. 
At  length  he  pitch'd  upon  the  ground,  and  shew'd 
The  form  divine,  the  features  of  a  god. 
He  knew  their  virtue  o'er  a  female  heart,  905 

And  yet  he  strives  to  better  them  by  art. 
He  hangs  his  mantle  loose,  and  sets  to  show 
The  golden  edging  on  the  seam  below; 
Adjusts  his  flowing  curls,  and  in  his  hand 
Waves,  with  an  air,  the  sleep-procuring  wand  ;       910 
The  glitt'ring  sandals  to  his  feet  applies, 
And  to  each  heel  the  well-trimm'd  pinion  ties. 

His  ornaments  with  nicest  art  display'd, 
He  seeks  th'  apartment  of  the  royal  maid. 
The  roof  was  all  with  polish'd  iv'ry  lin'd,  915 

That,  richly  mix'd,  in  clouds  of  tortoise  shin'd. 
There  rooms,  contiguous,  in  a  range  were  plac'd, 
The  midmost  by  the  beauteous  Herse  grac'd; 
Her  virgin  sisters  lodg'd  on  either  side. 
Aglauros  first  th'  approaching  god  descry'd,  920 

And,  as  he  cross'd  her  chamber,  ask'd  his  name, 
And  what  his  business  was,  and  whence  he  came. 

I  come  (reply'd  the  god),  from  heav'n  to  woo 
Your  sister,  and  to  make  an  aunt  of  you ; 
I  am  the  son  and  messenger  of  Jove,  925 

My  name  is  Mercury,  my  bus'ness  love : 
Do  you,  kind  damsel,  take  a  lover's  part, 


And  gain  admittance  to  your  sister's  heart. 

She  star'd  him  in  the  face  with  looks  amaz'd, 
As  when  she  on  Minerva's  secret  gaz'd,  939 

And  asks  a  mighty  treasure  for  her  hire, 
And,  till  he  brings  it,  makes  the  god  retire. 
Minerva  griev'd  to  see  the  nymph  succeed; 
And  now  rememb'ring  the  late  impious  deed, 
When,  disobedient  to  her  strict  command,  935 

Shetouch'd  the  chest  with  an  unhallow'd  hand; 
In  big-swoln  sighs  her  inward  rage  express'd, 
That  heav'd  the  rising  JEgls  on  her  breast; 
Then  sought  out  Envy  in  her  dark  abode, 
Defil'd  with  ropy  gore  and  clots  of  blood :  940 

Shut  from  the  winds  and  from  the  wholesome  skies, 
In  a  deep  vale  the  gloomy  dungeon  lies, 
Dismal  and  cold,  where  not  a  beam  of  light 
Invades  the  winter,  or  disturbs  the  night. 

Directly  to  the  cave  her  course  she  steer'd  ;         915 
Against  the  gates  her  martial  lance  she  rear'd ; 
The  gates  flew  open,  and  the  fiend  appear'd. 
A  pois'nous  morsel  in  her  teeth  she  chew'd, 
And  gorg'd  the  flesh  of  vipers  for  her  food. 
Minerva  loathing,  turn'd  away  her  eye ;  950 

The  hideous  monster,  rising  heavily, 
Came  stalking  forward,  with  a  sullen  pace, 
And  left  her  mangled  offals  on  the  place. 

Soon  as  she  saw  the  goddess,  gay  and  bright, 
She  fetch'd  a  groan  at  such  a  cheerful  sight.  955 

Livid  and  meagre  were  her  looks  ;  her  eye, 
In  foul,  distorted  glances,  turn'd  awry  : 
A  hoard  of  gall  her  inward  parts  possess'd, 
And  spread  a  greenness  o'er  her  canker'd  breast  • 
Her  teeth  were  brown  with  rust,  and,  from  her  tongue, 
In  dangling  drops,  the  stringy  poison  hung.  qq\ 

She  never  smiles  but  when  the  wretched  weep, 
Nor  lulls  her  malice  with  a  moment's  sleep. 
Restless  in  spite ;  while  watchful  to  destroy, 
She  pines  and  sickens  at  another's  joy ;  965 

Foe  to  herself,  distressing  and  distrest, 
She  bears  her  own  tormentor  in  her  breast. 

The  goddess  gave  (for  she  abhorr'd  her  sight) 
A  short  command  : — To  Athens  speed  thy  flight ; 

BOOK  II.  53 

On  curst  Aglauros  try  thy  utmost  art,  970 

And  fix  thy  rankest  venoms  in  her  heart. 

This  said,  her  spear  she  push'd  against  the  ground, 
And,  mounting  from  it  with  an  active  bound, 
Flew  off  to  heav'n  :  The  hag,  with  eyes  askew, 
Look'd  up,  and  mutter'd  curses  as  she  flew ;  975 

For  sore  she  fretted,  and  began  to  grieve 
At  the  success  which  she  herself  must  give  ; 
Then  takes  her  staff,  hunground  with  wreaths  of  thorn, 
And  sails  along,  in  a  black  whirlwind  borne, 
O'er  fields  and  flow'ry  meadows  :  Where  she  steers 
Her  baneful  course,  a  mighty  blast  appears,  981 

Mildews  and  blight ;  the  meadows  are  defac'd, 
The  fields,  the  flow'rs,  and  the  whole  year  laid  waste ; 
On  mortals  next,  and  peopled  towns  she  falls, 
And  breathes  a  burning  plague  among  their  walls.  985 

When  Athens  she  beheld,  for  arts  renown'd, 
With  peace  made  happy,  and  with  plenty  crown'd, 
Scarce  could  the  hideous  fiend  from  tears  forbear, 
To  find  out  nothing  that  deserv'd  a  tear. 
Th'  apartment  now  she  enter'd,  where  at  rest         990 
Aglauros  lay,  with  gentle  sleep  opprest. 
To  execute  Minerva's  dire  command, 
She  strok'd  the  virgin  with  her  canker'd  hand ; 
Then  prickly  thorns  into  her  breast  convey'd, 
That  stung  to  madness  the  devoted  maid  ;  995 

Her  subtle  venom  still  improves  the  smart, 
Frets  in  the  blood,  and  festers  in  the  heart. 

To  make  the  work  more  sure,  a  scene  she  drew, 
And  plac'd  before  the  dreaming  virgin's  view 
Her  sister's  marriage,  and  her  glorious  fate :  1000 

Th'  imaginary  bride  appears  in  state ; 
The  bridegroom  with  unwonted  beauty  glows ; 
For  envy  magnifies  whate'er  she  shews. 

Full  of  the  dream,  Aglauros  pin'd  away 
In  tears  all  night,  in  darkness  all  the  day;  1005 

Consum'd  like  ice,  that  just  begins  to  run, 
When  feebly  smitten  by  the  distant  sun  ; 
Or, like  unwholesome  weeds  that,  set  on  fire, 
Are  slowly  wasted,  and  in  smoke  expire. 
Giv'n  up  to  envy  (for,  in  ev'ry  thought,  1010 

The  thorns,  the  venom,  and  the  vision  wrought), 


Oft  did  she  call  on  Death  ;  as  oft  decreed, 

Rather  than  see  her  sister's  wish  succeed, 

To  tell  her  awful  father  what  had  past : 

At  length  before  the  door  herself  she  cast ;  1015 

And,  sitting  on  the  ground,  with  sullen  pride, 

A  passage  to  the  love-sick  god  deny'd. 

The  god  caress'd,  and  for  admission  pray'd, 

And  sooth'd,  in  softest  words,  th'  envenom'd  maid. 

In  vain  he  sooth'd :  Begone  !  (the  maid  replies),  1020 

Or  here  I  keep  my  seat,  and  never  rise. — 

Then  keep  thy  seat,  for  ever  !  (cries  the  god,) 

And  touch'd  the  door,  wide  op'ning  to  his  rod. — 

Fain  would  she  rise,  and  stop  him,  but  she  found 

Her  trunk  too  heavy  to  forsake  the  ground ;         1025 

Her  joints  are  all  benumb'd,  her  hands  are  pale, 

And  marble  now  appears  in  ev'ry  nail. 

As  when  a  cancer  in  the  body  feeds, 

And  gradual  death,  from  limb  to  limb,  proceeds ; 

So  does  the  chillness  to  each  vital  part  1030 

Spread  by  degrees,  and  creeps  into  her  heart ; 

Till,  hard'ning  ev'ry  where,  and  speechless  grown, 

She  sits  unmov'd,  and  freezes  to  a  stone. 

But  still  her  envious  hue  and  sullen  ruein 

Are  in  the  sedentary  figure  seen.  1035 

When  now  the  god  his  fury  had  allay'd, 
And  taken  vengeance  of  the  stubborn  maid, 
From  where  the  bright  Athenian  turrets  rise, 
He  mounts  aloft,  and  re-ascends  the  skies. 
Jove  saw  him  enter  the  sublime  abodes,  104ft 

And,  as  he  mix'd  among  the  crowd  of  gods, 
Beckon'd  him  out,  and  drew  him  from  the  rest, 
And,  in  soft  whispers,  thus  his  will  express'd  : 

My  trusty  Hermes,  by  whose  ready  aid 
Thy  sire's  commands  are  through  the  world  convey'd, 
Resume  thy  wings,  exert  thy  utmost  force,  1046 

And  to  the  walls  of  Sidon  speed  thy  course  ; 
There  find  a  herd  of  heifers  wand'ring  o'er 
The  neighb'ring  hill,  and  drive  'em  to  the  shore. 

Thus  spake  the  god,  concealing  his  intent :        1050 
The  trusty  Hermes  on  his  message  went, 
And  found  the  herd  of  heifers  wand'ring  o'er 

BOOK  II.  55 

A  neighb'ring  hill,  and  drove  'em  to  the  shore; 
Where  the  king's  daughter,  with  a  lovely  train 
Of  fellow-nymphs,  was  sporting  on  the  plain         1055 

The  dignity  of  empire  laid  aside 
(For  love  but  ill  agrees  with  kingly  pride), 
The  Ruler  of  the  skies,  the  thund'ring  god, 
Who  shakes  the  world's  foundations  with  a  nod, 
Among  a  herd  of  lowing  heifers  ran,  1060 

Frisk'd  in  a  bull,  and  bellow'd  o'er  the  plain. 
Large  rolls  of  fat  about  his  shoulders  clung, 
And  from  his  neck  the  double  dewlap  hung. 
His  skin  was  whiter  than  the  snow  that  lies 
Unsully'd  by  the  breath  of  southern  skies  ;  1065 

Small  shining  horns  on  his  curl'd  forehead  stand, 
As  turn'd  and  polish'd  by  the  workman's  hand; 
His  eye-balls  roll'd,  not  formidably  bright, 
But  gaz'd  and  languish M  with  a  gentle  light. 
His  ev'ry  look  was  peaceful,  and  express'd  1070 

The  softness  of  the  lover  in  the  beast. 
Agenor's  royal  daughter,  as  she  play'd 
Among  the  fields,  the  milk-white  bull  survey'd, 
And  view'd  his  spotless  body  with  delight, 
And,  at  a  distance,  kept  him  in  her  sight.  1075 

At  length  she  pluck'd  the  rising  flow'rs,  and  fed 
The  gentle  beast,  and  fondly  strok'd  his  head. 
He  stood  well  pleas'd  to  touch  the  charming  fair, 
But  hardly  could  confine  his  pleasure  there. 
And  now  he  wantons  o'er  the  neighb'ring  strand, 
Now  rolls  his  body  on  the  yellow  sand ;  1081 

And  now,  perceiving  all  her  fears  decayed, 
Comes  tossing  forward  to  the  royal  maid; 
Gives  her  his  breast  to  stroke,  and  downward  turns 
His  grisly  brow,  and  gently  stoops  his  horns.         10S5 
In  flow'ry  wreaths  the  royal  virgin  dress'd 
His  bending  horns,  and  kindly  clapt  his  breast. 
Till  now  grown  wanton,  and  devoid  of  fear, 
Not  knowing  that  she  pressed  the  Thunderer, 
She  plac'd  herself  upon  his  back,  and  rode  1090 

O'er  fields  and  meadows,  seated  on  the  god. 

He  gently  march'd  along,  and,  by  degrees, 
Left  the  dry  meadow,  and  approach'd  the  seas ; 
Where  now  he  dips  his  hoofs,  and  wets  his  thighs, 


Now  plunges  in,  and  carries  off  the  prize.  1095 

The  frighted  nymph  looks  backward  on  the  shore, 
And  hears  the  tumbling  billows  round  her  roar; 
But  still  she  holds  him  fast :  one  hand  is  borne 
Upon  his  back ;  the  other  grasps  a  horn : 
Her  train  of  ruffling  garments  flies  behind,  1100 

Swells  in  the  air,  and  hovers  in  the  wind. 

Through  storms  and  tempests  he  the  virgin  bore, 
And  lands  her  safe  on  the  Dictean  shore ; 
Where  now,  in  his  divinest  form  array'd, 
In  his  true  shape  he  captivates  the  maid;  1105 

Who  gazes  on  him,  and,  with  wond'ring  eyes, 
Beholds  the  new,  majestic  figure,  rise, 
His  glowing  features,  and  celestial  light, 
And  all  the  god  discover'd  to  her  sight. 



The  story  of  Cadmus.  The  transformation  of  Actaeon  into  a  stag. 
The  birth  of  Bacchus.  The  transformation  of  Tiresias.  The 
transformation  of  Echo.  The  story  of  Narcissus.  The  story  of 
Pentheus:  the  mariners  transformed  into  dolphins:  the  death 
of  Pentheus. 

When  now  Agenor  had  his  daughter  lost, 

He  sent  his  son  to  search  on  ev'ry  coast; 

And  sternly  bade  him  to  his  arms  restore 

The  darling  maid,  or  see  his  face  no  more, 

But  live  an  exile  in  a  foreign  clime ;  5 

Thus  was  the  father  pious  to  a  crime. 

The  restless  youth  search M  all  the  world  around ; 
But  how  can  Jove  in  his  amours  be  found? 
When  tir'd  at  length  with  unsuccessful  toil, 
To  shun  his  angry  sire  and  native  soil,  If) 

He  goes  a  suppliant  to  the  Delphic  dome ; 
There  asks  the  god  what  new-appointed  home 
Should  end  his  wand'rings,  and  his  toils  relieve? 
The  Delphic  oracles  this  answer  give  : 

Behold  among  the  fields  a  lonely  cow,  15 

Unworn  with  yokes,  unbroken  to  the  plough ; 

BOOK  III.  57 

Mark  well  the  place  where  first  she  lays  her  down, 
There  measure  out  thy  walls,  and  build  thy  town, 
And  from  thy  guide  Boeotia  call  the  land, 
In  which  the  destin'd  walls  and  town  shall  stand.    20 

No  sooner  had  he  left  the  dark  abode, 
Big  with  the  promise  of  the  Delphic  god, 
When  in  the  fields  the  fatal  cow  he  view'd, 
Nor  gall'd  with  yoke3,  nor  worn  with  servitude : 
Her  gently  at  a  distance  he  pursu'd ;  2.5 

And,  as  he  walk'd  aloof,  in  silence  pray'd 
To  the  great  pow'r  whose  counsels  he  obey'd. 
Her  way  through  flow'ry  Panope  she  took, 
And  now,  Cephisus,  cross'd  thy  silver  brook; 
When  to  the  heav'ns  her  spacious  front  she  rais'd,    30 
And  bellow'd  thrice,  then  backward  turning,  gaz'd 
On  those  behind,  till  on  the  destin'd  place 
She  stoop'd,  and  couch'd,  amid  the  rising  grass. 

Cadmus  salutes  the  soil,  and  gladly  hails 
The  new-found  mountains  and  the  nameless  vales,  35 
And  thanks  the  gods,  and  turn3  about  his  eye 
To  see  his  new  dominions  round  him  lie ; 
Then  sends  his  servants  to  a  neighb'ring  grove 
For  living  streams,  a  sacrifice  to  Jove. 
O'er  the  wide  plain  there  rose  a  shady  wood  40 

Of  aged  trees ;  in  its  dark  bosom  stood 
A  bushy  thicket, pathless  and  unworn, 
O'errun  with  brambles,  and  perplex'd  with  thorn  : 
Amidst  the  brake  a  hollow  den  was  found, 
With  rocks  and  shelving  arches  vaulted  round.         1.5 

Deep  in  the  dreary  den,  conceal'd  from  day, 
Sacred  to  Mars,  a  mighty  dragon  lay, 
Bloated  with  poison  to  a  monstrous  size ; 
Fire  broke  in  flashes  when  he  glanc'd  his  eyes  : 
His  tow'ring  crest  was  glorious  to  behold,  50 

His  shoulders  and  his  sides  were  scal'd  with  gold; 
Three  tongues  he  brandish'd  when  he  charg'd  his  foes  ; 
His  teeth  stood  jaggy  in  three  dreadful  rows. 
The  Tyrians  in  the  den  for  water  sought, 
And  with  their  urns  explor'd  the  hollow  vault :  55 

From  side  to  side  their  empty  urns  rebound, 
And  rouse  the  sleeping  serpent  with  their  sound. 
Straight  he  bestirs  him,  and  is  seen  to  rise ; 
D  2 


And  now  with  dreadful  hissings  fills  the  sties, 

And  darts  his  f or ky  tongues,  and  rolls  his  glaring  eyes. 

The  Tyrians  drop  their  vessels  in  the  fright,  61 

All  pale  and  trembling  at  the  hideous  sight. 

Spire  above  spire  uprear'd  in  air  he  stood, 

And  gazing  round  him,  overlooked  the  wood : 

Then  floating  on  the  ground  in  circles  roll'd ;  65 

Then  leap'd  upon  them  in  a  mighty  fold. 

Of  such  a  bulk,  and  such  a  monstrous  size, 

The  serpent  in  the  polar  circle  lies, 

That  stretches  over  half  the  northern  skies. 

In  vain  the  Tyrians  on  their  arms  rely,  70 

In  vain  attempt  to  fight,  in  vain  to  fly  : 
All  their  endeavours  and  their  hopes  are  vain ; 
Some  die  entangled  in  the  winding  train  ; 
Some  are  devour'd,  or  feel  a  loathsome  death, 
Swoln  up  with  blasts  of  pestilential  breath.  75 

And  now  the  scorching  sun  was  mounted  high, 
In  all  its  lustre,  to  the  noon-day  sky; 
When,  anxious  for  his  friends,  and  fill'd  with  cares, 
To  search  the  woods  th'  impatient  chief  prepares. 
A  lion's  hide  avound  his  loins  he  wore,  80 

The  well-pois'djav'lin  to  the  field  he  bore, 
Inur'd  to  blood  ;  the  far-destroying  dart ; 
And,  the  best  weapon,  an  undaunted  heart. 

Soon  as  the  youth  approach'd  the  fatal  place, 
He  saw  his  servants  breathless  on  the  grass ;  85 

The  scaly  foe  amid  their  corse  he  view'd, 
Basking  at  ease,  and  feasting  in  their  blood. 
Such  friends  (he  cries)  deserv'd  a  longer  date  ; 
But  Cadmus  will  revenge  or  share  their  fate. 
Then  heav'd  a  stone,  and  rising  to  the  throw,  90 

He  sent  it  in  a  whirlwind  at  the  foe  : 
A  tow'r  assaulted  by  so  rude  a  stroke, 
With  all  its  lofty  battlements  had  shook  ; 
But  nothing  here  th'  unwieldy  rock  avails, 
Rebounding  harmless  from  the  plated  scales,  95 

That,  firmly  join'd,  preserv'd  him  from  a  wound, 
With  native  armour  crusted  all  around. 
With  more  success  the  dart  unerring  flew, 
Which  at  his  back  the  raging  warrior  threw; 
Amid  the  plated  scales  it  took  its  course,  100 

BOOK  III.  59 

And  in  the  spinal  marrow  spent  its  force. 

The  monster  hiss'd  aloud,  and  rag'd  in  vain, 

And  writh'd  his  body  to  and  fro  with  pain  ; 

He  bit  the  dart,  and  wrench'd  the  wood  away, 

The  point  still  buried  in  the  marrow  lay.  105 

And  now  his  rage,  increasing  with  his  pain, 

Reddens  his  eyes,  and  beats  in  every  vein  ; 

Churn'd  in  his  teeth  the  foamy  venom  rose, 

Whilst  from  his  mouth  a  blast  of  vapours  flows, 

Such  as  th'  infernal  Stygian  waters  cast:  110 

The  plants  around  him  wither  in  the  blast. 

Now  in  a  maze  of  rings  he  lies  enroll'd, 

Now  all  unravell'd,  and  without  a  fold : 

Now,  like  a  torrent,  with  a  mighty  force 

Bears  down  the  forest  in  hi3  boist'rous  course.        115 

Cadmus  gave  back,  and  on  the  lion's  spoil 

Sustained  the  shock,  then  forc'd  him  to  recoil ; 

The  pointed  jav'lin  warded  off  his  rage : 

Mad  with  his  pains,  and  furious  to  engage, 

The  serpent  champs  the  steel,  and  bites  the  spear,  120 

Till  blcod  and  venom  all  the  point  besmear, 

But  still  the  hurt  he  yet  receiv'd  was  slight ; 

For,  whilst  the  champion  with  redoubled  might 

Strikes  home  the  jav'lin,  his  retiring  foe 

Shrinks  from  the  wound,  and  disappoints  the  blow. 

The  dauntless  hero  still  pursues  his  stroke,  12G 

And  presses  forward,  till  a  knotty  oak 
Retards  his  foe,  and  stops  him  in  the  rear ; 
Full  in  his  throat  he  plung'd  the  fatal  spear, 
That  in  th'  extended  neck  a  passage  found,  130 

And  pierc'd  the  solid  timber  through  the  wound. 
Fix'd  to  the  reeling  trunk,  with  many  a  stroke 
Of  his  huge  tail,  he  lash'd  the  sturdy  oak; 
Till  spent  with  toil,  and  lab'ring  hard  for  breath, 
He  now  lay  twisting  in  the  pangs  of  death.  135 

Cadmus  beheld  him  wallow  in  a  flood 
Of  swimming  poison,  intermix'd  with  blood ; 
When  suddenly  a  speech  was  heard  from  high 
(The  speech  was  heard,  nor  was  the  speaker  nigh), 
Why  dost  thou  thus  with  secret  pleasure  see,         140 
Insulting  man  I  what  thou  thyself  shalt  be? 
Astonish'd  at  the  voice,  he  stood  ainaz'd, 


And  all  around  with  inward  horror  gaz'd ; 
When  Pallas,  swift  descending  from  the  skies, 
Pallas,  the  guardian  of  the  bold  and  wise,  145 

Bids  him  plough  up  the  field,  and  scatter  round 
The  dragon's  teeth  o'er  all  the  furrow'd  ground ; 
Then  tells  the  youth  how  to  his  wond'ring  eyes 
Embattled  armies  from  the  field  should  rise. 

He  sows  the  teeth  at  Pallas's  command,  150 

And  flings  the  future  people  from  his  hand. 
The  clods  grow  warm,  and  crumble  where  he  sows  ; 
And  now  the  pointed  spears  advance  in  rows  ; 
Now  nodding  plumes  appear,  and  shining  crests, 
Now  the  broad  shoulders  and  the  rising  breasts;     155 
O'er  all  the  field  the  breathing  harvest  swarms, 
A  growing  host,  a  crop  of  men  and  arms. 
So  through  the  parting  stage  a  figure  rears 
Tts  body  up,  and  limb  by  limb  appears 
By  just  degress;  till  all  the  man  arise,  160 

And  in  his  full  proportion  strikes  the  eyes. 

Cadmus  surpris'd,  and  startled  at  the  sight 
Of  his  new  foes,  prepar'd  himself  for  fight : 
When  one  cry'd  out,  Forbear,  fond  man,  forbear, 
To  mingle  in  a  blind,  promiscuous  war.  165 

This  said,  he  struck  his  brother  to  the  ground, 
Himself  expiring  by  another's  wound ; 
Nor  did  the  third  his  conquest  long  survive, 
Dying  ere  scarce  he  had  begun  to  live. 

The  dire  example  ran  through  all  the  field,  170 

Till  heaps  of  brothers  were  by  brothers  kill'd* 
The  furrows  swam  in  blood;  and  only  five 
Of  all  the  vast  increase  were  left  alive; 
Echion  one,  at  Pallas's  command, 
Let  fall  the  guiltless  weapon  from  his  hand,  175 

And  with  the  rest  a  peaceful  treaty  makes, 
Whom  Cadmus  as  his  friends  and  partners  takes : 
So  founds  a  city  on  the  promis'd  earth, 
And  gives  his  new  Boeotian  empire  birth.       [guess'd 

Here  Cadmus  reign'd,  and  now  one  would  have 
The  royal  founder  in  his  exile  blest :  181 

Long  did  he  live  within  his  new  abodes, 
Ally'd  by  marriage  to  the  deathless  gods ; 
And,  in  a  fruitful  wife's  embraces  old, 

BOOK  III.  61 

A  long  increase  of  children's  children  told :  185 

But  no  frail  man,  however  great  or  high, 
Can  he  concluded  blest  before  he  die. 
Actaeon  was  the  first  of  all  his  race, 
Who  griev'd  his  grandsire  in  his  borrow'd  face; 
Condemn'd  by  stern  Diana  to  bemoan  190 

The  branching  horns,  and  visage  not  his  own ; 
To  shun  his  once-lov'd  dogs,  to  bound  away, 
And  from  their  huntsman  to  become  their  prey. 
And  yet  consider  why  the  change  was  wrought, 
You'll  find  it  his  misfortune,  not  his  fault;  195 

Or,  if  a  fault,  it  was  the  fault  of  chance  : 
For  how  can  guilt  proceed  from  ignorance  ? 

In  a  fair  chase  a  shady  mountain  stood,        [blood. 
Well-stored  with  game,  and  mark'd  with  trails  of 
Here  did  the  huntsmen,  till  the  heat  of  day,  200 

Pursue  the  stag,  and  load  themselves  with  prey ; 
When  thus  Actaeon,  calling  to  the  rest : 
My  friends  (says  he), our  sport  is  at  the  best: 
The  sun  is  high  advanc'd,  and  downward  sheds 
His  burning  beams  directly  on  our  heads ;  205 

Then,  by  consent,  abstain  from  farther  spoils, 
Call  off"  the  dogs,  and  gather  up  the  toils; 
And  ere  to-morrow's  sun  begins  his  race, 
Take  the  cool  morning  to  renew  the  chase. — 
They  all  consent,  and  in  a  cheerful  train  210 

The  jolly  huntsmen,  laden  with  the  slain, 
Return  in  triumph  from  the  sultry  plain. 

Down  in  a  vale  with  pine  and  cypress  clad, 
Refresh'd  with  gentle  winds,  and  brown  with  shade 
(The  chaste  Diana's  private  haunt),  there  stood,     215 
Full  in  the  centre  of  the  darksome  wood, 
A  spacious  grotto,  all  around  o'er-grown 
With  hoary  mos?,  and  arch'd  with  pumice  stone. 
From  out  its  rocky  cleft  the  waters  flow, 
And,  trickling,  swell  into  a  lake  below.  220 

Nature  had  ev'ry  where  so  play'd  her  part, 
That  ev'ry  where  she  seem'd  to  vie  with  art. 
Here  the  bright  goddess,  toil'd  and  chaf'd  with  heat, 
Was  wont  to  bathe  her  in  the  cool  retreat. 

Here  did  she  now  with  all  her  train  resort,         225 
Panting  with  heat,  and  breathless  from  the  sport ; 


Her  armour-bearer  laid  her  bow  aside, 
Some  loos'd  her  sandals,  some  her  veil  unty'd; 
Each  busy  nymph  her  proper  part  undress'd; 
While  Crocale,  more  handy  than  the  rest,  230 

Gather'd  her  flowing  hair,  and  in  a  noose 
Bound  it  together,  whilst  her  own  hung  loose. 
Five  of  the  more  ignoble  sort,  by  turns, 
Fetch  up  the  water,  and  unlade  the  urns. 

Now  all  undrest  the  shining  goddess  stood,         235 
When  young  Actaeon,  wilder'd  in  the  wood, 
To  the  cool  grot  by  his  hard  fate  betray'd, 
The  fountains  fill'd  with  naked  nymphs  survey'd. 
The  frighted  virgins  shriek'd  at  the  surprise 
(The  forest  echo'd  with  their  piercing  cries),  240 

Then  in  a  huddle  round  their  goddess  press'd : 
She,  proudly  eminent  above  the  rest, 
With  blushes  glow'd ;  such  blushes  as  adorn 
The  ruddy  welkin ,  or  the  purple  morn  : 
And,  tho'  the  crowding  nymphs  her  body  hide,       245 
Half  backward  shrunk,  and  view'd  him  from 

Surpris'd,  at  first  she  would  have  snatch'd  her  bow, 
But  sees  the  circling  waters  round  her  flow ; 
These  in  the  hollow  of  her  hand  she  took, 
And  dash'd  'em  in  his  face  while  thus  she  spoke:  250 
Tell,  if  thou  canst,  the  wondrous  sight  disclos'd, 
A  goddess  naked  to  thy  view  expos'd. 

This  said,  the  man  began  to  disappear 
By  slow  degrees,  and  ended  in  a  deer : 
A  rising  horn  on  either  brow  he  wears,  255 

And  stretches  out  his  neck,  and  pricks  his  ears; 
Bough  is  his  skin,  with  sudden  hairs  o'er-grown, 
His  bosom  pants  with  fears  before  unknown  : 
Transform'd  at  length,  he  flies  away  in  haste, 
And  wonders  why  he  flies  away  so  fast.  260 

But  as  by  chance,  within  a  neighb'ring  brook, 
He  saw  his  branching  horns,  and  alter'd  look, 
Wretched  Actaeon  !  in  a  doleful  tone 
He  try'd  to  speak,  but  only  gave  a  groan ; 
And  as  he  wept,  within  the  wat'ry  glass,  265 

He  saw  the  big  round  drops,  with  silent  pace, 
Run  trickling  down  a  savage,  hairy  face. 
What  should  he  do  1  Or  seek  his  old  abodes, 

BOOK  III.  63 

Or  herd  among  the  deer,  and  skulk  in  woods? 

Here  shame  dissuades  him,  there  his  fear  prevails,  270 

And  each  by  turns  his  aching  heart  assails. 

As  he  thus  ponders,  he  behind  him  spies 
His  op'ning  hounds,  and  now  he  hears  their  cries : 
A  gen'rous  pack,  or  to  maintain  the  chase, 
Or  snuff  the  vapour  from  the  scented  grass.  275 

He  bounded  off  with  fear,  and  swiftly  ran 
O'er  craggy  mountains,  and  the  flow'ry  plain ; 
Through  brakes  and  thickets  forc'd  his  way,  and  flew 
Through  many  a  ring,  where  once  he  did  pursue. 
In  vain  he  oft  endeavour'd  to  proclaim  280 

His  new  misfortune,  and  to  tell  his  name  ; 
Nor  voice  nor  words  the  brutal  tongue  supplies ; 
From  shouting  men,  and  horns,  and  dogs,  he  flies, 
Deafen'd  and  stunn'd  with  their  promiscuous  cries. 
When  now  the  fleetest  of  the  pack,  that  press'd     285 
Close  at  his  heels,  and  sprung  before  the  rest, 
Had  fasten'd  on  him,  straight  another  pair, 
Hung  on  his  wounded  haunch,  and  held  him  there, 
Till  all  the  pack  came  up,  and  every  hound 
Tore  the  sad  huntsman  grovelling  on  the  ground,  290 
Who  now  appear'd  but  one  continued  wound. 
With  dropping  tears  his  bitter  fate  he  moans, 
And  fills  the  mountains  with  his  dying  groans. 
His  servants,  with  a  piteous  look  he  spies, 
And  turns  about  his  supplicating  eyes :  296 

His  servants,  ignorant  of  what  had  chanc'd, 
With  eager  haste  and  joyful  shouts  advanc'd, 
And  call'd  their  lord  Actseon  to  the  game : 
He  shook  his  head  in  answer  to  the  name  ; 
He  heard,  but  wish'd  he  had  indeed  been  gone,      300 
Or  only  to  have  stood  a  looker-on : 
But,  to  his  grief,  he  finds  himself  too  near, 
And  feels  his  rav'nous  dogs  with  fury  tear 
Their  wretched  master,  panting,  in  a  deer. 

Actaeon's  suff 'rings,  and  Diana's  rage,  305 

Did  all  the  thoughts  of  men  and  gods  engage  ; 
Some  call'd  the  evils,  which  Diana  wrought, 
Too  great  and  disproportion^  to  the  fault ; 
Others  again,  esteem'd  Actaeon's  woes 


Fit  for  a  virgin  goddess  to  impose.  310 

The  hearers  into  difFrent  parts  divide, 
And  reasons  are  produc'd  on  either  side. 

Juno  alone,  of  all  that  heard  the  news, 
Nor  would  condemn  the  goddess,  nor  excuse  : 
She  heeded  not  the  justice  of  the  deed,  315 

But  joy'd  to  see  the  race  of  Cadmus  bleed; 
For  still  she  kept  Europa  in  her  mind, 
And,  for  her  sake,  detested  all  her  kind. 
Besides,  to  aggravate  her  hate,  she  heard 
How  Semele  to  Jove's  embrace  preferr'd,  320 

Was  now  grown  big  with  an  immortal  load, 
And  carry'd  in  her  womb  a  future  god. 
Thus  terribly  incens'd,  the  goddess  broke 
To  sudden  fury,  and  abruptly  spoke : 

Are  my  reproaches  of  so  small  a  force?  325 

'Tis  time  then  I  pursue  another  course : 
It  is  decreed  the  guilty  wretch  shall  die, 
If  I'm  indeed  the  mistress  of  the  sky, 
If  rightly  styl'd  among  the  pow'rs  above, 
The  wife  and  sister  of  the  thund'ring  Jove,  330 

(And  none  can  sure  a  sister's  right  deny); 
It  is  decreed  the  guilty  wretch  shall  die. 
She  boasts  an  honour  I  can  hardly  claim, 
Pregnant  she  rises  to  a  mother's  name ; 
While  proud  and  vain  she  triumphs  in  her  Jove,     335 
And  shews  the  glorious  tokens  of  his  love : 
But  if  I'm  still  the  mistress  of  the  skies, 
By  her  own  lover  the  fond  beauty  dies. 
This  said,  descending  in  a  yellow  cloud, 
Before  the  gates  of  Semele  she  stood.  340 

Old  Berbe's  decrepit  shape  she  wears, 
Her  wrinkled  visage,  and  her  hoary  hairs; 
Whilst  in  her  trembling  gait  she  totters  on, 
And  learns  to  tattle  in  the  nurse's  tone. 
The  goddess,  thus  disguis'd  in  age,  beguil'd,  345 

With  pleasing  stories,  her  false  foster-child. 
Much  did  she  talk  of  love,  and  when  she  came 
To  mention  to  the  nymph  her  lover's  name, 
Fetching  a  sigh,  and  holding  down  her  head, 
'Tis  well  (says  she),  if  all  be  true  that's  said.  350 

But  trust  me,  child,  I'm  much  inclin'd  to  fear, 

BOOK  III.  65 

Some  counterfeit  in  this  your  Jupiter. 

Many  an  honest,  well-designing  maid, 

Has  heen  by  these  pretended  gods  betray'd : 

But  if  he  be  indeed  the  thund'ring  Jove,  355 

Bid  him,  when  next  he  courts  the  rites  of  love, 

Descend  triumphant  from  th'  ethereal  sky, 

In  all  the  pomp  of  his  divinity, 

Encompass'd  round  by  those  celestial  charms, 

With  which  he  fills  th'  immortal  Juno's  arms.        360 

Th'  unwary  nymph,  ensnar'd  with  what  she  said, 
De3ir'd  of  Jove,  when  next  he  sought  her  bed, 
To  grant  a  certain  gift  which  she  would  choose ; — 
Fear  not  (reply'd  the  god)  that  I'll  refuse 
Whate'er  you  ask:  may  Styx  confirm  my  voice;    365 
Choose  what  you  will,  and  you  shall  have  your  choice. 
Then  (says  the  nymph),  when  next  you  seek  my  arms, 
May  you  descend  in  those  celestial  charms, 
With  which  your  Juno's  bosom  you  inflame, 
And  fill  with  transport  heav'n's  immortal  dame.    370 
The  god,  surpris'd,  would  fain  have  stopp'd  her  voice, 
But  he  had  sworn,  and  she  had  made  her  choice. 

To  keep  bis  promise  he  ascends,  and  shrouds 
His  awful  brow  in  whirlwinds  and  in  clouds; 
Whilst  all  around,  in  terrible  array,  375 

His  thunders  rattle,  and  his  lightnings  play. 
And  yet  the  dazzling  lustre  to  abate, 
He  set  not  out  in  all  his  pomp  and  state, 
Clad  in  the  mildest  lightning  of  the  skies, 
And  arm'd  with  thunder  of  the  smallest  size ;         380 
Not  those  huge  bolts,  by  which  the  giants  slain 
Lay  overthrown  on  the  Phlegrean  plain : 
'Twas  of  a  lesser  mould,  and  lighter  weight ; 
They  call  it  thunder  of  a  second-rate ; 
For,  the  rough  Cyclops,  who, by  Jove's  command,  385 
Temper'd  the  bolt,  and  turn'd  it  to  his  hand, 
Work'd  up  less  flame  and  fury  in  its  make, 
And  quench'd  it  sooner  in  the  standing  lake. 
Thus  dreadfully  adorn'd,  with  horror  bright, 
Th'  illustrious  god,  descending  from  his  height,      390 
Came  rushing  on  her  in  a  storm  of  light. 

The  mortal  dame,  too  feeble  to  engage 
The  lightning's  flashes,  and  the  thunder's  rage, 


Consum'd  amidst  the  glories  she  desir'd, 

And  in  the  terrible  embrace  expir'd.  395 

But,  to  preserve  his  offspring  from  the  tomb, 
Jove  took  him,  smoking,  from  the  blasted  womb  ; 
And,  if  on  ancient  tales  we  may  rely, 
Inclos'd  th'  abortive  infant  in  his  thigh. 
Here  when  the  babe  had  all  his  time  fulfill'd,         400 
Ino  first  took  him  for  her  foster-child ; 
Then  the  Niseans,  in  their  dark  abode, 
Nurs'd  secretly,  with  milk,  the  thriving  god. 

'Twas  now,  while  these  transactions  pass'd  on 
And  Bacchus  thus  procur'd  a  second  birth,  405 

When  Jove,  dispos'd  to  lay  aside  the  weight 
Of  public  empire,  and  the  cares  of  state, 
As  to  his  queen  in  nectar  bowls  he  quaff'd: 
In  troth,  says  he  (and  as  he  spoke,  he  laugh'd), 
The  sense  of  pleasure  in  the  male  is  far  410 

More  dull  and  dead,  than  what  you  females  share. 
Juno,  the  truth  of  what  was  said,  deny'd; 
Tiresias,  therefore,  must  the  cause  decide, 
For  he  the  pleasure  of  each  sex  had  try'd. 

It  happen'd  once,  within  a  shady  wood,  415 

Two  twisted  snakes  he  in  conjunction  view'd, 
When  with  his  staff  their  slimy  folds  he  broke, 
And  lost  his  manhood  at  the  fatal  stroke. 
But,  after  sev'n  revolving  years,  he  view'd 
The  self-same  serpents  in  the  self-same  wood ;        420 
And  if  (says  he)  such  virtue  in  you  lie, 
That  he  who  dares  your  slimy  folds  untie, 
Must  change  his  kind,  a  second  stroke  I'll  try. 
Again  he  struck  the  snakes,  and  stood  again 
New-sex'd,  and  straight  recover'd  into  man.  425 

Him,  therefore,  both  the  deities  create 
The  sov'reign  umpire  in  their  grand  debate : 
And  he  declar'd  for  Jove:   When  Juno  fir'd, 
More  than  so  trivial  an  affair  requir'd, 
Depriv'd  him,  in  her  fury,  of  his  sight,  430 

And  left  him  groping  round  in  sudden  night. 
But  Jove  (for  so  it  is  in  heav'n  decreed, 
That  no  one  god  repeal  another's  deed) 

BOOK  III.  67 

Irradiates  all  his  soul  with  inward  light,  434 

And  with  the  prophet's  art  relieves  the  want  of  sight. 

Fam'd  far  and  near  for  knowing  things  to  come, 
From  him  th'  inquiring  nations  sought  their  doom ; 
The  fair  Liriope  his  answers  try'd, 
And  first  th'  unerring  prophet  justify'd. 
This  nymph  the  god  Cephisus  had  abus'd,  440 

With  all  his  winding  waters  circumfus'd, 
And  on  the  Nereid  got  a  lovely  boy, 
Whom  her  soft  maids  ev'n  then  beheld  with  joy. 

The  tender  dame,  solicitous  to  know 
Whether  her  child  should  reach  old  age  or  no,        445 
Consults  the  sage  Tiresias;  who  replies, 
If  e'er  he  knows  himself,  he  surely  dies. 

Long  liv'd  the  dubious  mother  in  suspense, 
Till  time  unriddled  all  the  prophet's  sense. 
Narcissus  now  his  sixteenth  year  began,  450 

Just  turn'd  of  boy,  and  on  the  verge  of  man ; 
Many  a  friend  the  blooming  youth  caress'd : 
Many  a  love-sick  maid  her  flame  confess'd ; 
Such  was  his  pride,  in  vain  the  friend  caress'd; 
The  love-sick  maid  in  vain  her  flame  confess'd.      455 

Once,  in  the  woods,  as  he  pursu'd  the  chase, 
The  babbling  Echo  had  descry'd  his  face ; 
She,  who  in  other's  words  her  silence  break3, 
Nor  speaks  herself  but  when  another  speaks. 
Echo  was  then  a  maid,  of  speech  bereft,  460 

Of  wonted  speech ;  for,  though  her  voice  was  left, 
Juno  a  curse  did  on  her  tongue  impose, 
To  sport  with  ev'ry  sentence  in  the  close. 
Full  often,  when  the  goddess  might  have  caught 
Jove,  and  her  rivals,  in  the  very  fault,  465 

This  nymph,  with  subtle  stories,  would  delay 
Her  coming,  till  the  lovers  slipp'd  away. 
The  goddess  found  out  the  deceit  in  time, 
And  then  she  cry'd :  That  tongue  for  this  thy  crime, 
Which  could  so  many  subtle  tales  produce,  470 

Shall  be  hereafter  but  of  little  use. 
Hence  'tis  she  praties  in  a  fainter  tone, 
With  mimic  sounds,  and  accents  not  her  own. 

This  love-sick  virgin,  overjoy'd  to  find 


The  boy  alone,  still  follow'd  him  behind;  475 

When  glowing  warmly  at  her  near  approach, 

As  sulphur  blazes  at  the  taper's  touch, 

She  long'd  her  hidden  passion  to  reveal, 

And  tell  her  pains,  but  had  not  words  to  tell: 

She  can't  begin,  but  waits  for  the  rebound,  480 

To  catch  his  voice,  and  to  return  the  sound. 

The  nymph,  when  nothing  could  Narcissus  move, 

Still  dash'd  with  blushes  for  her  slighted  love, 

Liv'd  in  the  shady  covert  of  the  woods, 

In  solitary  caves,  and  dark  abodes;  485 

Where,  pining,  wander'd  the  rejected  fair, 

'Till  harass'd  out,  and  worn  away  with  care, 

The  sounding  skeleton,  of  blood  bereft, 

Besides  her  bones  and  voice,  had  nothing  left. 

Her  bones  are  petrify'd,  her  voice  is  found  490 

In  vaults,  where  still  it  doubles  every  sound. 

Thus  did  the  nymphs  in  vain  caress  the  boy, 
He  still  was  lovely,  but  he  still  was  coy; 
When  one  fair  virgin  of  the  slighted  train 
Thus  prayed  the  gods,  provok'd  by  his  disdain  :       495 
O,  may  he  love  like  me,  and  love  like  me  in  vain! — 
Rhamnusia  pity'd  the  neglected  fair, 
And,  with  just  vengeance,  answer'd  to  her  pray'r. 

There  stands  a  fountain  in  a  darksome  wood, 
Nor  stain'd  with  falling  leaves,  nor  rising  mud ;     500 
Untroubled  by  the  breath  of  winds  it  rests, 
Unsully'd  by  the  touch  of  men  or  beasts ; 
High  bow'rs  of  shady  trees  above  it  grow, 
And  rising  grass  and  cheerful  greens  below. 
Pleas'd  with  the  form  and  coolness  of  the  place,    505 
And  over-heated  by  the  morning  chase, 
Narcissus  on  the  grassy  verdure  lies : 
But  whilst  within  the  crystal  fount  he  tries 
To  quench  his  heat,  he  feels  new  heats  arise- 
For,  as  his  own  bright  image  he  survey'd,  510 

He  fell  in  love  with  the  fantastic  shade  ; 
And  o'er  the  fair  resemblance  hung  unmov'd, 
Nor  knew,  fond  youth!  it  was  himself  he  lov'd. 
The  well-turn'd  neck  and  shoulders  he  descries. 
The  spacious  forehead  and  the  sparkling  eyes;        515 

BOOK  III.  69 

The  hands*  that  Bacchus  might  not  scorn  to  shew, 

And  hair  that  round  Apollo's  head  might  flow ; 

With  all  the  purple  youthfulness  of  face, 

That  gently  blushes  in  the  wat'ry  glass ; 

By  his  own  flames  consum'd,  the  lover  lies,  520 

And  gives  himself  the  wound  by  which  he  dies. 

To  the  cold  water  oft  he  joins  his  lips, 

Oft  catching  at  the  beauteous  shade  he  dips 

His  arms,  as  often  from  himself  he  slips. 

Nor  knows  he  who  it  is  his  arms  pursue  525 

With  eager  clasps,  but  loves  he  knows  not  who. 

What  could,  fond  youth,  this  helpless  passion  move  ? 
What  kindle  in  thee  this  unpity'd  love  ? 
Thy  own  warm  blush  within  the  water  glows, 
With  thee  the  colour 'd  shadow  comes  and  goes,      530 
Its  empty  being  on  thyself  relies; 
Step  thou  aside,  and  the  frail  charmer  dies. 

Still  o'er  the  fountain's  wat'ry  gleam  he  stood, 
Mindless  of  sleep,  and  negligent  of  food. 
Still  view'd  his  face  and  languish'd  as  he  view'd.  535 
At  length  he  rais'd  his  head,  and  thus  began 
To  vent  his  griefs,  and  tell  the  woods  his  pain  : 
You  trees  (says  he),  and  thou  surrounding  grove, 
Who  oft  have  been  the  kindly  scenes  of  love, 
Tell  me,  if  e'er  within  your  shades  did  lie  540 

A  youth  so  tortur'd,  so  perplex'd  as  1 1 
I,  who  before  me  see  the  charming  fair, 
Whilst  there  he  stands,  and  yet  he  stands  not  there  ; 
In  such  a  maze  of  love  my  thoughts  are  lost: 
And  yet  no  bulwark'd  town,  nor  distant  coast,        545 
Preserves  the  beauteous  youth  from  being  seen, 
No  mountains  rise,  nor  oceans  flow  between. 
A  shallow  water  hinders  my  embrace ; 
And  yet  the  lovely  mimic  wears  a  face 
That  kindly  smiles,  and  when  I  bend  to  join  550 

My  lips  to  his,  he  fondly  bends  to  mine. 
Hear,  gentle  youth,  and  pity  my  complaint, 
Come  from  thy  well,  thou  fair  inhabitant. 
My  charms  an  easy  conquest  have  obtain'd 
O'er  other  hearts,  by  thee  alone  disdain'd.  555 

But  why  should  I  despair?  I'm  sure  he  burns 
With  equal  flames,  and  languishes  by  turns. 


Whene'er  I  stoop,  he  offers  at  a  kiss, 

And  when  my  arms  I  stretch,  he  stretches  his. 

His  eye  with  pleasure  on  my  face  he  keeps,  560 

He  smiles  my  smiles,  and  when  I  weep  he  weeps; 

Whene'er  I  speak,  his  moving  lips  appear 

To  utter  something,  which  I  cannot  hear. 
Ah,  wretched  me !  I  now  begin  too  late 

To  find  out  all  the  long,  perplex'd  deceit:  5C5 

It  is  myself  I  love,  myself  I  see  ; 

The  gay  delusion  is  a  part  of  me. 

I  kindle  up  the  fires  by  which  I  burn, 

And  my  own  beauties  from  the  well  return. 

Whom  should  I  court?  how  utter  my  complaint?  570 

Enjoyment  but  produces  my  restraint, 

And  too  much  plenty  makes  me  die  for  want. 

How  gladly  would  I  from  myself  remove ! 

And  at  a  distance  set  the  thing  I  love. 

My  breast  is  warm'd  with  such  unusual  fire,  575 

I  wish  him  absent  whom  1  most  desire. 

And  now  I  faint  with  grief;  my  fate  draws  nigh  ; 

In  all  the  pride  of  blooming  youth  I  die. 

Death  will  the  sorrows  of  my  heart  relieve: 

O,  might  the  visionary  youth  survive,  580 

I  should  with  joy  my  latest  breath  resign ; 
But,  oh !  I  see  his  fate  involv'd  in  mine. 
This  said,  the  weeping  youth  again  return'd 

To  the  clear  fountain,  where  again  he  burn'd  ; 
His  tears  defac'd  the  surface  of  the  well,  585 

With  circle  after  circle,  as  they  fell : 
And  now  the  lovely  face  but  half  appears, 
O'errun  with  wrinkles,  and  deform'd  with  tears. 

Ah,  whither  (crie3  Narcissus)  dost  thou  fly  ? 
Let  me  still  feed  the  flame  by  which  I  die  ;  590 

Let  me  still  see,  though  I'm  no  farther  blest:— 
Then  rends  his  garment  off,  and  beats  his  breast; 
His  naked  bosom  redden'd  with  the  blow, 
In  such  a  blush  as  purple  clusters  shew, 
Ere  yet  the  sun's  autumnal  heats  refine  595 

Their  sprightly  juice,  and  mellow  it  to  wine. 
The  glowing  beauties  of  his  breast  he  spies, 
And  with  a  new,  redoubled  passion  dies. 
As  wax.  dissolves,  as  ice  begins  to  run, 

BOOK  III.  71 

And  trickle  into  drops  before  the  sun ;  600 

So  melts  the  youth,  and  languishes  away, 

His  beauty  withers,  and  his  limbs  decay ; 

And  none  of  those  attractive  charms  remain, 

To  which  the  slighted  Echo  sued  in  vain. 

She  saw  him  in  his  present  misery,  605 

Whom,  spite  of  all  her  wrongs,  she  griev'd  to  see. 

She  answer'd  sadly  to  the  lover's  moan, 

Sigh'd  back  his  sighs,  and  groan'd  to  ev'ry  groan : 

Ah,  youth,  belov'd  in  vain !    Narcissus  cries ; 

*  Ah,  youth,  belov'd  in  vain  !'  the  nymph  replies.  610 

Farewell!  says  he; — the  parting  sound  scarce  fell 

From  his  faint  lips ;  but  she  reply'd,  •  Farewell!' 

Then  on  th'  unwholesome  earth  he  gasping  lies, 

Till  death  shuts  up  those  self-admiring  eyes. 

To  the  cold  shades  his  flitting  ghost  retires,  615 

And  in  the  Stygian  waves  itself  admires. 

For  him  the  Naiads  and  the  Dryads  mourn, 
Whom  the  sad  Echo  answers  in  her  turn. 
And  now  the  sister-nymphs  prepare  his  urn ; 
When,  looking  for  his  corse,  they  only  found  620 

A  rising  stalk,  with  yellow  blossoms  crown'd. 

This  sad  event  gave  blind  Tiresias  fame, 
Through  Greece  established  in  a  prophet's  name. 

Th'  unhallow'd  Pentheus,  only,  durst  deride 
The  cheated  people,  and  their  eyeless  guide:  625 

To  whom  the  prophet,  in  his  fury,  said, 
Shaking  the  hoary  honours  of  his  head  : 
'Twere  well,  presumptuous  man,  'twere  well  for  thee, 
If  thou  wert  eyeless  too,  and  blind  like  me  : 
For  the  time  comes, — nay,  'tis  already  here,  630 

When  the  young  god's  solemnities  appear : 
Which  if  thou  dost  not  with  just  rites  adorn, 
Thy  impious  carcase,  into  pieces  torn, 
Shall  strew  the  woods,  and  hang  on  ev'ry  thorn. 
Then,  then,  remember  what  I  now  foretel,  635 

And  own  the  blind  Tiresias  saw  too  well. 

Still  Pentheus  scorns  him,  and  derides  his  skill; 
But  time  did  all  the  prophet's  threats  fulfil :       [rode, 
For  now  through  prostrate  Greece  young  Bacchus 
Whilst  howling  matrons  celebrate  the  god :  6 10 


All  ranks  and  sexes  to  his  orgies  ran, 

To  mingle  in  the  pomps,  and  fill  the  train  ; 

When  Pentheus  thus  his  wicked  rage  express'd : 

What  madness,  Thebans,  has  your  souls  possess'd ! 

Can  hollow  timbrels,  can  a  drunken  shout,  645 

And  the  lewd  clamours  of  a  beastly  rout, 

Thus  quell  your  courage?   Can  the  weak  alarm 

Of  women's  yells  those  stubborn  souls  disarm, 

Whom  nor  the  sword  nor  trumpet  e'er  could  fright, 

Nor  the  loud  din  and  horror  of  a  fight  ?  650 

And  you,  our  sires,  who  left  your  old  abodes, 

And  fix'd  in  foreign  earth  your  country  gods: 

Will  you,  without  a  stroke,  your  city  yield, 

And  poorly  quit  an  undisputed  field? 

But  you,  whose  youth  and  vigour  should  inspire    655 

Heroic  warmth,  and  kindle  marshal  fire, 

Whom  burnish'd  arms  and  crested  helmets  grace, 

Not  flow'ry  garlands,  and  a  painted  face ; 

Remember  him  to  whom  you  stand  ally'd : 

The  serpent  for  his  well  of  waters  dy'd.  660 

He  fought  the  strong ;  do  you  his  courage  shew, 

And  gain  a  conquest  o'er  a  feeble  foe. 

If  Thebes  must  fall,  oh  !  might  the  Fates  afford 

A  noble  doom  from  famine,  fire,  or  sword ! 

Then  might  the  Thebans  perish  with  renown :        665 

But  now  a  beardless  victor  sacks  the  town  ; 

Whom  nor  the  prancing  steed,  nor  pond'rous  shield, 

Nor  the  hack'd  helmet,  nor  the  dusty  field, 

But  the  soft  joys  of  luxury  and  ease, 

The  purple  vests,  and  flow'ry  garlands  please.        670 

Stand  then  aside,  I'll  make  the  counterfeit 

Renounce  his  godhead,  and  confess  the  cheat. 

Acrisius  from  the  Grecian  walls  repell'd 

This  boasted  pow'r;  why  then  should  Pentheus  yield  ? 

Go  quickly,  drag  th'  impostor  boy  to  me;  675 

I'll  try  the  force  of  his  divinity. 

Thus  did  th*  audacious  wretch  those  rites  profane ; 
His  friends  dissuade  th'  audacious  wretch  in  vain; 
In  vain  his  grandsire  urg'd  him  to  give  o'er 
His  impious  threats ;  the  wretch  but  raves  the  more. 
So  I  have  seen  a  river  gently  glide  681 

In  a  smooth  course,  and  inoffensive  tide ; 

BOOK  III.  73 

But  if  with  dams  its  current  we  restrain, 
It  bears  down  all,  and  foams  along  the  plain. 

But  now  his  servants  came,  besmear'd  with  blood, 
Sent  by  their  haughty  prince  to  seize  the  god ;       636 
The  god  they  found  not  in  the  frantic  throng, 
But  dragg'd  a  zealous  yotary  along. 

Him  Pentheus  view'd,  with  fury  in  his  look,      689 
And  scarce  .withheld  his  hands,  while  thus  he  spoke  : 
Vile  slave:  whom  speedy  vengeance  shall  pursue, 
And  terrify  thy  base  seditious  crew ; 
Thy  country  and  thy  parentage  reveal, 
And,  why  thou  join'st  in  these  mad  orgies,  tell. 

The  captive  views  him  with  undaunted  eyes,      695 
And,  arm'd  with  inward  innocence,  replies : 

From  high  Msebnia's  rocky  shores  I  came, 
Of  poor  descent,  Acoetes  is  my  name : 
My  sire  was  meanly  born ;  no  oxen  plough'd 
His  fruitful  fields,  nor  in  his  pasture  low'd,  700 

His  whole  estate  within  the  waters  lay : 
With  lines  and  hooks  he  caught  the  finny  prey ; 
His  art  was  all  his  livelihood  ;  which  he 
Thus,  with  his  dying  lips,  bequeath'd  to  me  : 

In  streams,  my  boy,  and  rivers  take  thy  chance; 
There  swims  (said  he)  thy  whole  inheritance,         706 
Long  did  I  live  on  this  poor  legacy; 
Till,  tir'd  with  rocks,  and  my  old  native  sky, 
To  arts  of  navigation  I  inclin'd ; 

Observ'd  the  turns  and  changes  of  the  wind ;  710 

Learn'd  the  fit  havens,  and  began  to  note 
The  stormy  Hy'ades,  the  rainy  Goat, 
The  bright  Taygete,  and  the  shining  Bears, 
With  all  the  sailor's  catalogue  of  stars. 

Once  as  by  chance  for  Delos  I  design'd,  715 

My  vessel  driv'n  by  a  strong  gust  of  wind, 
Moor'd  in  a  Chian  creek  ;  ashore  I  went, 
And  all  the  following  night  in  Chios  spent. 
When  morning  rose,  I  sent  my  mates  to  bring 
Supplies  of  water  from  a  neighb'ring  spring,  729 

Whilst  I  the  motion  of  the  winds  explor'd  ; 
Then  suramon'd  in  my  crew,  and  went  aboard. 
Opheltes  heard  my  summons,  and  with  joy, 


Brought  to  the  shore  a  soft  and  lovely  hoy, 

With  more  than  female  sweetness  in  his  look,        725 

Whom  straggling  in  the  neighb'ring  fields  he  took. 

With  fumes  of  wine  the  little  captive  glows, 

And  nods  with  sleep,  and  staggers  as  he  goes. 

I  viewed  him  nicely,  and  began  to  trace 
Each  heav'nly  feature,  each  immortal  grace,  730 

And  saw  divinity  in  all  his  face. — 
I  know  not  who,  said  I,  this  god  should  be  ; 
But  that  he  is  a  god,  I  plainly  see : 
And  thou,  whoe'er  thou  art,  excuse  the  force 
These  men  have  us'd ;  and  oh,  befriend  our  course  ! 

Pray  not  for  us,  the  nimble  Dictys  cry'd;  730 

Dictys,  that  could  the  main-top-mast  bestride, 
And  down  the  ropes  with  active  vigour  slide. 
To  the  same  purpose  old  Epopeus  spoke, 
Who  over-look'd  the  oars,  and  tim'd  the  stroke ;     710 
The  same  the  pilot,  and  the  same  the  rest; 
Such  impious  avarice  their  souls  possess'd. 

Nay,  Heav'n  forbid  that  I  should  bear  away 
Within  my  vessel  so  divine  a  prey, 
Said  I:  and  stood  to  hinder  their  intent:  745 

When  Lycabas,  a  wretch  for  murder  sent 
From  Tuscany,  to  suffer  banishment, 
With  his  clench'd  fist  had  struck  me  overboard, 
Had  not  my  hands  in  falling  grasp'd  a  cord. 

His  base  confederates  the  fact  approve ;  750 

When  Bacchus  (for  'twas  he)  began  to  move, 
Wak'd  by  the  noise  and  clamours  which  they  rais'd, 
And  shook  his  drowsy  limbs,  and  round  him  gaz'd : 
What  means  this  noise?  (he  cries;)  am  I  betray'd  ? 
Ah!  whither,  whither  must  I  be  convey'd? —  755 

Fear  not  (said  Proteus),  child,  but  tell  us  where 
You  wish  to  land,  and  trust  our  friendly  care. — 
To  Naxos  then  direct  your  course  (said  he) ; 
Naxos  a  hospitable  port  shall  be 
To  each  of  you,  a  joyfid  home  to  me.  760 

By  ev'ry  god,  that  rules  the  sea  or  sky, 
The  perjur'd  villains  promise  to  comply, 
And  bid  me  hasten  to  unmoor  the  ship. 
With  eager  joy  I  launch  into  the  deep ; 
And  heedless  of  the  fraud,  for  Naxos  stand.  7ti5 

BOOK  III.  78 

They  whisper  oft,  and  beckon  with  the  hand, 

And  give  me  signs,  all  anxious  for  their  prey, 

To  tack  about,  and  steer  another  way. 

Then  let  some  other  to  my  post  succeed, 

Said  I,  I'm  guiltless  of  so  foul  a  deed,  770 

What  I  says  Ethalion,  must  the  ship's  whole  crew 

Follow  your  humour,  and  depend  on  you  ? 

And  straight  himself  he  seated  at  the  prore, 

And  tack'd  about,  and  sought  another  shore. 

The  beauteous  youth  now  found  himself  betray'd,  775 

And  from  the  deck  the  rising  waves  survey'd, 

And  seem'd  to  weep,  and,  as  he  wept,  he  said: 

And  do  you  thus  my  easy  faith  beguile  ? 

Thus  do  you  bear  me  to  my  native  isle  1 

Will  such  a  multitude  of  men  employ  rso 

Their  strength  against  a  weak,  defenceless  boy  1 

In  vain  did  I  the  godlike  youth  deplore, 
The  more  I  begg'd,  they  thwarted  me  the  more. 
And  now  by  all  the  gods  in  heav'n  that  hear 
The  solemn  oath,  by  Bacchus'  self  I  swear,  7sr> 

The  mighty  miracle  that  did  ensue, 
Although  it  seems  beyond  relief,  is  true. 
The  vessel,  fix'd  and  rooted  in  the  flood, 
Unmov'd  by  all  the  beating  billows  stood. 
In  vain  the  mariners  would  plough  the  main,         790 
With  sails  unfurl'd,  and  strike  their  oars  in  vain ; 
Around  their  oars  a  twining  ivy  cleaves, 
And  climbs  the  mast,  and  hides  the  cords  in  leaves  : 
The  sails  are  cover'd  with  a  cheerful  green, 
And  berries  in  the  fruitful  canvas  seen,  705 

Amidst  the  waves  a  sudden  forest  rears 
Its  verdant  head,  and  a  new  spring  appears. 

The  god  we  now  behold  with  open'd  eyes ; 
And  herd  of  spotted  panthers  round  him  lies 
In  glaring  forms ;  the  grapy  clusters  spread  800 

On  his  fair  brows,  and  dangle  on  his  head. 
And  whilst  he  frowns,  and  brandishes  his  spear, 
My  mates,  surpris'd  with  madness  or  with  fear, 
Leap'd  overboard  :  First  perjur'd  Madon  found       804 
Rough  scales  and  fins  his  stiffening  sides  surround ; — 
Ah,  what  (cries  one)  has  thus  transform'd  thy  look ! 
Straight  his  own  mouth  grew  wider  as  he  spoke : 


And  now  himself  he  views  with  like  surprise. 

Still  at  his  oar  th'  industrious  Libys  plies ; 

But,  as  he  plies,  each  busy  arm  shrinks  in,  810 

And,  by  degrees,  is  fashion'd  to  a  fin. 

Another,  as  he  catches  at  a  cord, 

Misses  his  arms,  and,  tumbling  over-board, 

With  his  broad  fins,  and  forky  tail,  he  laves 

The  rising  surge,  and  flounces  in  the  waves.  815 

Thus  all  my  crew  transform' d  around  the  ship. 

Or  dive  below,  or  on  the  surface  leap, 

And  spout  the  waves,  and  wanton  in  the  deep. 

Full  nineteen  sailors  did  the  ship  convey, 

A  shoal  of  nineteen  dolphins  round  her  play.  8'20 

I  only  in  my  proper  shape  appear, 

Speechless  with  wonder,  and  half  dead  with  fear, 

Till  Bacchus  kindly  bade  me  fear  no  more. 

With  him  I  landed  on  the  Chian  shore, 

And  him  shall  ever  gratefully  adore.  825 

This  forging  slave  (says  Pentheus)  would  prevail 
O'er  our  just  fury  by  a  far-fetch'd  tale : 
Go,  let  him  feel  the  whips,  the  swords,  the  fire, 
And  in  the  tortures  of  the  rack  expire. 

Th'  officious  servants  hurry  him  away,  830 

And  the  poor  captive  in  a  dungeon  lay. 
But,  whilst  the  whips  and  tortures  are  prepar'd, 
The  gates  fly  open,  of  themselves  unbarr'd; 
At  liberty  th'  unfetter'd  captive  stands, 
And  flings  the  loosen'd  shackles  from  his  hands.    S35 

But  Pentheus,  grown  more  furious  than  before, 
Itesolv'd  to  send  his  messengers  no  more, 
But  went  himself  to  the  distracted  throng, 
Where  high  Cithaeron  echo'd  with  their  song. 
And  as  the  fiery  war-horse  paws  the  ground,  840 

And  snorts  and  trembles  at  the  trumpet's  sound ; 
Transported  thus  he  heard  the  frantic  rout, 
And  rav'd  and  madden'd  at  the  distant  shout. 

A  spacious  circuit  on  the  hill  there  stood, 
Level  and  wide,  and  skirted  round  with  wood  ;       845 
Here  the  rash  Pentheus,  with  unhallow'd  eyes, 
The  howling  dames  and  mystic  orgies  spies. 
His  mother  sternly  view'd  him  where  he  stood, 

BOOK  III.  77 

And  kindled  into  madness  as  she  view'd : 

Her  leafy  jav'lin  at  her  son  she  cast..  850 

And  cries :  The  boar  that  lays  our  country  waste ! 

The  boar,  my  sisters !  aim  the  fatal  dart, 

And  strike  the  brindled  monster  to  the  heart! 

Pentbeus,  astonish'd,  heard  the  dismal  sound, 
And  sees  the  yelling  matrons  gath'ring  round ;        855 
He  sees,  and  weeps  at  his  approaching  fate, 
And  begs  for  mercy,  and  repents  too  late. — 
Help,  help !  my  aunt  Antonbe ;  he  cry'd ; 
Remember,  how  your  own  Actseon  dy'd. 

Deaf  to  his  cries,  the  frantic  matron  crops  860 

One  stretch'd  out  arm,  the  other  Ino  lops. 
In  vain  does  Pentheus  to  his  mother  sue, 
And  the  raw  bleeding  stumps  presents  to  view : 
His  mother  howi'd;  and,  heedless  of  his  pray'r, 
Her  trembling  hand  she  twisted  in  his  hair;  865 

And  this  (she  cry'd)  shall  be  Agave's  share : 
When  from  his  neck  the  struggling  head  she  tore, 
And  in  her  hands  the  ghastly  visage  bore. 
With  pleasure  all  the  hideous  trunk  survey ; 
Then  pull'd  and  tore  the  mangled  limbs  away,        870 
As  starting  in  the  pangs  of  death  it  lay. 
Soon  as  the  wood  its  leafy  honours  casts, 
Blown  off  and  scatter'd  by  autumnal  blasts, 
With  such  a  sudden  death  lay  Pentheus  slain, 
And  in  a  thousand  pieces  strew'd  the  plain.  875 

By  so  distinguishing  a  judgment  aw'd, 
The  Thebans  tremble,  and  confess  the  god. 




The  story  of  Alcithoe  and  her  sisters.  The  story  of  Pyramus  and 
Thisbe.  The  story  "f  Leueothoe  and  the  sun.  The  transforma- 
tion of  Clytie.  The  story  of  Salraacis  and  Hermaphroditus. 
Alcithoe  and  her  sisters  transformed  to  bats.  The  transforma- 
tion of  Ino  and  Melicsrta  to  sea-gods.  The  transformation  of 
the  Tlieban  matrons.  Cadmus  and  his  queen  transformed  to 
serpents.  The  story  of  Perseus.  Atlas  transformed  to  a 
mountain.  Andromeda  rescued  from  the  sea-monster.  The 
story  of  Medusa's  head. 

Yet  still  Alcithoe  perverse  remains, 

And  Bacchus  still,  and  all  his  rites  disdains. 

Too  rash  and  madly  bold,  she  bids  him  prove 

Himself  a  god;  nor  owns  the  son  of  Jove. 

Her  sisters,  too,  unanimous  agree,  S 

Faithful  associates  in  impiety. 

Be  this  a  solemn  feast,  the  priest  had  said; 
Be,  with  each  mistress,  unemploy'd  each  maid: 
With  skins  of  beasts  your  tender  limbs  inclose, 
And  with  an  ivy  crown  adorn  your  brows ;  10 

The  leafy  Thyrsus  high  in  triumph  bear, 
And  give  your  locks  to  wanton  in  the  air. 

These  rites  profan'd,  the  holy  seer  foreshew'd 
A  mourning  people,  and  a  vengeful  god. 

Matrons  and  pious  wives  obedience  shew,  15 

Distaffs,  and  wool,  half-spun,  away  they  throw: 
Then  incense  burn,  and,  Bacchus,  thee  adore, 
Or  lov'st  thou  Nyseus,  or  Lyaeus  more  ? 

O  !  doubly  got,  O  !  doubly  born,  they  sung, 
Thou  mighty  Bromius,  hail,  from  lightning  sprung !   20 
Hail,  Thyon !  Eleleus !  each  name  is  thine : 
Or  listen,  Parent  of  the  genial  Vine  ! 
Iacchus!   Evan!  loudly  they  repeat, 
And  not  one  Grecian  attribute  forget, 
Which  to  thy  praise,  great  deity,  belong,  25 

Styl'd  justly  Liber  in  the  Roman  song. 
Eternity  of  youth  is  thine!  enjoy 
Years  roll'd  on  years,  yet  still  a  blooming  boy. 
In  heav'n  thou  shin'st  with  a  superior  grace ; 
Conceal  thy  horns,  and  'tis  a  virgin's  face.  30 

BOOK  IV.  79 

Thou  taught'st  the  tawny  Indian  to  obey, 

And  Ganges,  smoothly  flowing,  own'd  thy  sway. 

Lycurgus,  Pentheus,  equally  profane, 

By  thy  just  vengeance  equally  were  slain. 

By  thee  the  Tuscans,  who  conspir'd  to  keep  35 

Thee  captive,  plung'd,  and  cut  with  fins  the  deep ; 

With  painted  reins,  all-glittering  from  afar, 

The  spotted  lynxes  proudly  draw  thy  car ; 

Around,  the  Bacchse,  and  the  Satyrs  throng; 

Behind,  Silenus,  drunk,  lags  slow  along;  40 

On  his  dull  ass  he  nods  from  side  to  side, 

Forbears  to  fall,  yet  half  forgets  to  ride. 

Still,  at  thy  near  approach,  applauses  loud 

Are  heard,  with  yellings  of  the  female  crowd. 

Timbrels,  and  boxen  pipes,  with  mingled  cries,        45 

Swell  up  in  sounds  confus'd,  and  rend  the  skies. 

Come,  Bacchus,  come  propitious,  all  implore, 

And  act  thy  sacred  orgies  o'er  and  o'er ! 

But  Mineus'  daughters,  while  these  rites  were  paid, 
At  home,  impertinently  busy,  staid  ;  50 

Their  wicked  tasks  they  ply  with  various  art, 
And  through  the  loom  the  sliding  shuttle  dart ; 
Or  at  the  fire  to  comb  the  wool  they  stand, 
Or  twirl  the  spindle  with  a  dext'rous  hand. 
Guilty  themselves,  they  force  the  guiltless  in ;  5;1 

Their  maids,  who  share  the  labour,  share  the  sin . 
At  last  one  sister  cries,  who  nimbly  knew, 
To  draw  nice  threads,  and  wind  the  finest  clue: 
While  others  idly  rove,  and  gods  revere, 
Their  fancy'd  gods !  they  know  not  who,  or  where ; 
Let  us  whom  Pallas  taught  her  better  arts,  61 

Still  working,  cheer  with  mirthful  chat  our  hearts, 
And  to  deceive  the  time,  let  me  prevail 
With  each  by  turns,  to  tell  some  antique  tale. 

She  said ;  her  sisters  lik'd  the  humour  well,  63 

And  smiling,  bade  her  the  first  story  tell. 
But  she  awhile  profoundly  seem'd  to  muse, 
Perplex'd  amid  variety  to  choose : 
And  knew  not,  whether  she  would  first  relate 
The  poor  Dircetis,  and  her  wondrous  fate ;  70 

The  Palestines  believe  it  to  a  man, 
And  shew  the  lake,  in  which  her  scales  began : 


Or  if  she  rather  should  the  daughter  sing, 

Who  in  the  hoary  verge  of  life  took  wing ; 

Who  soar'd  from  earth,  and  dwelt  in  tow'rs  on  high, 

And  now  a  dove  she  flits  along  the  sky : —  76 

Or  how  lewd  Na'is,  when  her  lust  was  cloy'd, 

To  fishes  turns  the  youths  she  had  enjoy'd, 

By  pow'rful  verse,  and  herbs ;  effect  most  strange ! 

At  last  the  changer  shar'd  herself  the  change : —      80 

Or  how  the  tree,  which  once  white  berries  bore, 

Still  crimson  bears,  since  stain'd  with  crimson  gore. 

The  tree  was  new ;  she  likes  it,  and  begins 

To  tell  the  tale,  and  as  she  tells,  she  spins. 

In  Babylon,  where  first  her  queen,  for  state,  85 

Rais'd  walls  of  brick  magnificently  great, 
Liv'd  Pyramus,  and  Thisbe,  lovely  pair: 
He  found  no  eastern  youth  his  equal  there, 
And  she  beyond  the  fairest  nymph  was  fair. 
A  closer  neighbourhood  was  never  known,  90 

Though  two  the  houses,  yet  the  roof  was  one. 
Acquaintance  grew :  th'  acquaintance  they  improve 
To  friendship ;  friendship  ripen'd  into  love  : 
Love  had  been  crown'd,  but  impotently  mad, 
What  parents  could  not  hinder,  they  forbade:  95 

For  with  fierce  flames  young  Pyramus  still  burn'd, 
And  grateful  Thisbe  flames  as  fierce  return'd. 
Alcud  in  words  their  thoughts  they  dare  not  break, 
But  silent  stand  (and  silent  looks  can  speak); 
The  fire  of  love,  the  more  it  is  supprest,  100 

The  more  it  glows  and  rages  in  the  breast. 

When  the  division-wall  was  built,  a  chink 
Was  left,  the  cement  unobserv'd  to  shrink. 
So  slight  the  cranny,  that  it  still  had  been 
For  centuries  unclos'd,  because  unseen.  105 

But,  oh !  what  thing  so  small,  so  secret  lies, 
Which  'scapes,  if  form'd  for  love,  a  lover's  eyes? 
Ev'n  in  this  narrow  chink  they  quickly  found 
A  friendly  passage  for  a  trackless  sound ; 
Safely  they  told  their  sorrows  and  their  joys,  110 

In  whisper'd  murmurs,  and  a  dying  noise : 
By  turns  to  catch  each  other's  breath  they  strove, 
And  suck'd  in  all  the  balmy  breeze  of  love. 

BOOK  IV.  81 

Oft,  as  on  diff'rent  sides  they  stood,  they  cry'd: 
Malicious  wall,  thus  lovers  to  divide !  115 

Suppose,  thou  should'st  awhile  to  us  give  place, 
To  lock  and  fasten  in  a  close  embrace : 
But  if  too  much  to  grant  so  sweet  a  bliss, 
Indulge,  at  least,  the  pleasure  of  a  kiss. 
We  scorn  ingratitude:  To  thee,  we  know,  120 

This  safe  conveyance  of  our  minds  we  owe. 

Thus  they  their  vain  petition  did  renew 
Till  night,  and  then  they  softly  sigh'd,  adieu! 
But  first  they  strove  to  kiss,  and  that  was  all; 
Their  kisses  dy'd  untasted  on  the  wall.  125 

Soon  as  the  morn  had  o'er  the  stars  prevail'd, 
And,  warm'd  by  Phoebus,  flow'rs  their  dews  exhal'd, 
The  lovers  to  their  well-known  place  return, 
Alike  they  suffer,  and  alike  they  mourn. 
At  last  their  parents  they  resolve  to  cheat  130 

(If  to  deceive  in  love  be  call'd  deceit), 
To  steal  by  night  from  home,  and  thence  unknown 
To  seek  the  fields,  and  quit  th'  unfaithful  town. 
But,  to  prevent  their  wand'ring  in  the  dark, 
They  both  agree  to  fix  upon  a  mark ;  1 35 

A  mark  that  could  not  their  designs  expose : 
The  tomb  of  Ninus  was  the  mark  they  chose ; 
There  they  might  rest  secure  beneath  the  shade, 
Which  boughs,  with  snowy  fruit  incumber'd,  made : 
A  wide-spread  mulberry  its  rise  had  took  140 

Just  on  the  margin  of  a  gurgling  brook. 

Impatient  for  the  friendly  dusk  they  stay ; 
And  chide  the  slowness  of  departing  day. 
In  western  seas  down  sunk  at  last  the  light, 
From  western  seas  up-rose  the  shades  of  night.      145 
The  loving  Thisbe  ev'n  prevents  the  hour ; 
With  cautious  silence  she  unlocks  the  door, 
And  veils  her  face,  and,  marching  through  the  gloom, 
Swiftly  arrives  at  th'  assignation  tomb 
(For  still  the  fearful  sex  oan  fearless  prove ; —        150 
Boldly  they  act,  if  spirited  by  love); 
When,  lo !  a  lioness  rush'd  o'er  the  plain, 
Grimly  besmear'd  with  blood  of  oxen  slain : 
And  what  to  the  dire  sight  new  horrors  brought,  154 
To  slake  her  thirst  the  neighb'ring  spring  she  sought. 
E  2 


Which,  by  the  moon,  when  trembling  Thisbe  spies, 
Wing'd  with  her  fear,  swift  as  the  wind  she  flies ; 
And  in  a  cave  recovers  from  her  fright, 
But  dropp'd  her  veil  confounded  in  her  flight. 
When  sated  with  repeated  draughts,  again  160 

The  queen  of  beasts  scour'd  back  along  the  plain, 
She  found  the  veil,  and,  mouthing  it  all  o'er, 
With  bloody  jaws,  the  lifeless  prey  she  tore. 

The  youth,  who  could  not  cheat  his  guards  so  soon, 
Late  came,  and  noted,  by  the  glimm'ring  moon,     165 
Some  savage  feet  new  printed  on  the  ground; 
His  cheeks  turn'd  pale,  his  limbs  no  vigour  found: 
But  when,  advancing  on,  the  veil  he  spied, 
Distain'd  with  blood,  and  ghastly  torn,  he  cried  : 
One  night  shall  death  to  two  young  lovers  give,     170 
But  she  deserv'd  unnumber'd  years  to  live! 
'Tis  I  am  guilty,  I  have  thee  betray'd, 
Who  came  not  early  as  my  charming  maid. 
Whatever  slew  thee,  I  the  cause  remain  ; 
I  nam'd,  and  fix'd  the  place,  where  thou  wast  slain. 
Ye  lions,  from  your  neighb'ring  dens  repair,  176 

Pity  the  wretch,  this  impious  body  tear! 
But  cowards  thus  for  death  can  idly  cry; 
The  brave  still  have  it  in  their  pow'r  to  die. 

Then  to  th'  appointed  tree  he  hastes  away,  180 

The  veil  first  gather'd,  though  all  rent  it  lay ; 
The  veil  all  rent,  yet  still  itself  endears; 
He  kiss'd,  and  kissing,  washed  it  with  his  tears. 
Though  rich  (he  cry'd)  with  many  a  precious  stain, 
Still  from  my  blood  a  deeper  tincture  gain.  1S& 

Then  in  his  breast  his  shining  sword  he  drown'd, 
And  fell  supine,  extended  on  the  ground. 
As  out  again  the  blade  he  dying  drew, 
Out  spun  the  blood,  and  streaming  upwards  flew. 

So  if  a  conduit  pipe  e'er  burst  you  saw,  190 

Swift  spring  the  gushing  waters  through  the  flaw; 
Then  spouting  in  a  bow,  they  rise  on  high, 
And  a  new  fountain  plays  amid  the  sky. 
The  berries,  stain'd  with  blood,  began  to  shew 
A  dark  complexion,  and  forgot  their  snow;  195 

While  fatten'd  with  the  flowing  gore,  the  root 
Was  doom'd  for  ever  to  a  purple  fruit. 


Meantime  poor  Thisbe  fear'd,  so  long  she  staid, 
Her  lover  might  suspect  a  perjur'd  maid. 
Her  fright  scarce  o'er,  she  strove  the  youth  to  find, 
With  ardent  eyes,  which  spoke  an  ardent  mind.     201 
Already  in  his  arms,  she  hears  him  sigh 
At  her  destruction,  which  was  once  so  nigh. 
The  tomb,  the  tree,  but  not  the  fruit,  she  knew ; 
The  fruit  she  doubted  for  its  alter'd  hue.  205 

Still  as  she  doubts,  her  eyes  a  body  found 
Quiv'ring  in  death,  and  gasping  on  the  ground. 
She  started  back;  the  red  her  cheeks  forsook, 
And  ev'ry  nerve  with  thrilling  horrors  shook. 
So  trembles  the  smooth  surface  of  the  seas,  210 

If  brush'd  o'er  gently  with  a  rising  breeze. 
But  when  her  view  her  bleeding  love  confess'd, 
She  shriek'd,  3he  tore  her  hair,  she  beat  her  breast, 
She  rais'd  the  body,  and  embrac'd  it  round, 
And  bath'd  with  tears  unfeign'd  the  gaping  wound ; 
Then  her  warm  lips  to  the  cold  face  apply'd,  216 

And  is  it  thus,  ah !  thus  we  meet !  she  cry'd : 
My  Pyramus!  whence  sprang  thy  cruel  fate? 
My  Pyramus; — ah !  speak,  ere  'tis  too  late: 
I,  thy  own  Thisbe,  but  one  word  implore,  220 

One  word  thy  Thisbe  never  ask'd  before. 

At  Thisbe's  name,  awak'd,  he  open'd  wide 
His  dying  eyes ;  with  dying  eyes  he  try'd 
On  her  to  dwell,  but  clos'd  them  slow  and  died. 

The  fatal  cause  was  now  at  last  explor'd,  225 

Her  veil  she  knew,  and  saw  his  sheathless  sword: — 
From  thy  own  hand  thy  ruin  thou  hast  found, 
She  said;  but  love  first  taught  that  hand  to  wound. 
Ev'n  I  for  thee  as  bold  a  hand  can  shew, 
And  love,  which  shall  as  true  direct  the  blow,        230 
I  will  against  the  woman's  weakness  strive, 
And  never  thee,  lamented  youth,  survive. 
The  world  may  say,  I  caus'd,  alas !  thy  death, 
But  saw  thee  breathless,  and  resign'd  my  breath. 
Fate,  though  it  conquers,  shall  no  triumph  gain,    235 
Fate,  that  divides  us,  still  divides  in  vain. 

Now,  both  our  cruel  parents,  hear  my  pray'r ; 
My  pray'r  to  offer  for  us  both  I  dare : 


O  !  see  our  ashes  in  one  urn  confin'd, 

Whom  love  at  first,  and  fate  at  last  has  join'd.        '240 

The  bliss  you  envy'd,  is  not  oar  request; 

Lovers,  when  dead,  may  sure  together  rest. 

Thou,  tree,  where  now  one  lifeless  lump  is  laid, 

Ere  long  o'er  two  shall  cast  a  friendly  shade. 

Still  let  our  loves  from  thee  be  understood,  245 

Still  witness  in  thy  purple  fruit  our  blood. — 

She  spoke,  and  in  her  bosom  plung'd  the  sword, 

All  warm  and  reeking  from  its  slaughter'd  lord. 

The  pray'r,  which  dying  Thisbe  had  preferr'd, 
Both  gods  and  parents  with  compassion  heard.        250 
The  whiteness  of  the  mulberry  soon  fled, 
And  rip'ning,  sadden'd  in  a  dusky  red: 
While  both  their  parents  their  lost  children  mourn, 
And  mix  their  ashes  in  one  golden  urn. 

Thus  did  the  melancholy  tale  conclude,  255 

And  a  short,  silent  interval  ensu'd. 
The  next  in  birth  unloos'd  her  artful  tongue, 
And  drew  attentive  all  the  sister  throng. 

The  Sun,  the  source  of  light,  by  Beauty's  pow'r 
Once  am'rous  grew ;  then  hear  the  Sun's  amour.  260 
Venus,  and  Mars,  with  his  far-piercing  eyes 
This  god  first  spy'd;  this  god  first  all  things  spies. 
Stung  at  the  sight,  and  swift  on  mischief  bent, 
To  haughty  Juno's  shapeless  son  he  went: 
The  goddess,  and  her  god  gallant  betray'd,  265 

And  told  the  cuckold  where  their  pranks  were  play'd. 
Poor  Vulcan  soon  desir'd  to  hear  no  more, 
He  dropp'd  his  hammer,  and  he  shook  all  o'er : 
Then  courage  takes,  and  full  of  vengeful  ire, 
He  heaves  the  bellows,  and  blows  fierce  the  fire,    270 
From  liquid  brass,  though  sure,  yet  subtle  snares 
He  forms,  and  next  a  wondrous  net  prepares, 
Drawn  with  such  curious  art,  so  nicely  sly, 
Unseen  the  meshes  cheat  the  searching  eye. 
Not  half  so  thin  their  webs  the  spiders  weave,        275 
Which  the  most  wary,  buzzing  prey  deceive. 
These  chains,  obedient  to  the  touch,  he  spread 
In  secret  foldings  o'er  the  conscious  bed : 
The  conscious  bed  again  was  quickly  prest 

BOOK  IV.  85 

By  the  fond  pair,  in  lawless  raptures  blest.  280 

Mars  wonderM  at  his  Cytherea's  charms 
More  fast  than  ever  lock'd  within  her  arms ; 
While  Vulcan  th'  iv'ry  doors  unbarr'd  with  care, 
Then  call'd  the  gods  to  view  the  sportive  pair : 
The  gods  throng'd  in,  and  saw  in  open  day,  285 

Where  Mars,  and  Beauty's  queen,  all  naked  lay. 
O  shameful  sight !  if  shameful  that  we  name, 
Which  gods  with  envy  view'd,  and  could  not  blame, 
But  for  the  pleasure  wish'd  to  bear  the  shame. 
Each  deity,  with  laughter  tir*d,  departs,  290 

Yet  all  still  laugh'd  at  Vulcan  in  their  hearts. 

Through  heav'n  the  news  of  this  surpriaal  run, 
But  Venus  did  not  thus  forget  the  Sun. 
He,  who  stol'n  transports  idly  had  betray'd, 
By  a  betrayer  was  in  kind  repaid.  295 

What  now  avails,  great  god,  thy  piercing  blaze, 
That  youth,  and  beauty,  and  those  golden  rays  1 
Thou,  who  canst  warm  this  universe  alone. 
Feel'st  now  a  warmth  more  pow'rful  than  thy  own : 
And  those  bright  eyes,  which  all  things  should  survey, 
Know  not  from  fair  Leucothbe  to  stray :  301 

The  lamp  of  light,  for  human  good  design'd, 
Is  to  one  virgin  niggardly  confin'd. 
Sometimes  too  early  rise  thy  eastern  beams, 
Sometimes  too  late  they  set  in  western  streams :     305 
'Tis  then  her  beauty  thy  swift  course  delays, 
And  gives  to  winter  skies  long  summer  days. 
Now  in  thy  face  thy  love-sick  mind  appears, 
And  spreads  through  impious  nations  empty  fears : 
For  when  thy  beamless  head  is  wrapt  in  night,      310 
Poor  mortals  tremble  in  despair  of  light. 
'Tis  not  the  moon  that  o'er  thee  casts  a  veil, 
'Tis  love  alone  which  makes  thy  looks  so  pale. 
Leucothbe  is  grown  thy  only  care, 
Not  Phaeton's  fair  mother  now  is  fair :  315 

The  youthful  Rhodos  moves  no  tender  thought, 
And  beauteous  Porsa  is  at  last  forgot; 
Fond  Clytie  scorn'd,  yet  lov'd,  and  sought  thy  bed, 
Ev'n  then  thy  heart  for  other  virgins  bled ; 
Leucoth'de  has  all  thy  soul  possest, 
And  chas'd  each  rival  passion  from  thy  breast.       32* 


To  this  bright  nymph,  Eurynome  gave  birth 
In  the  blest  confines  of  the  spicy  earth; 
Excelling  others,  she  herself  beheld 
By  her  own  blooming  daughter  far  excell'd.  3?5 

The  sire  was  Orchamus,  whose  vast  command, 
The  seventh  from  Belus,  rul'd  the  Persian  land. 
Deep  in  cool  vales,  beneath  th'  Hesperian  sky, 
For  the  Sun's  fiery  steeds  the  pastures  lie. 
Ambrosia  there  they  eat,  and  thence  they  gain       330 
New  vigour,  and  their  daily  toils  sustain  : 
While  thus  on  heav'nly  food  the  coursers  fed, 
And  night,  around,  her  gloomy  empire  spread, 
The  god  assum'd  the  mother's  shape,  and  air, 
And  pass'd,  unheeded,  to  his  darling  fair.  335 

Close  by  a  lamp,  with  maids  encompass'd  round, 
The  royal  spinster,  full  employ'd,  he  found  : 
Then  cry'd,  Awhile  from  work,  my  daughter,  rest ; 
And,  like  a  mother,  scarce  her  lips  he  press'd. 
Servants,  retire !  nor  secrets  dare  to  hear,  340 

Intrusted  only  to  a  daughter's  ear. 
They  swift  obey'd :  Not  one,  suspicious,  thought 
The  secret,  which  their  mistress  would  be  taught. 
Then  he :  Since  now  no  witnesses  are  near, 
Behold  the  god,  who  guides  the  various  year .'  345 

The  world's  vast  eye,  of  light  the  source  serene, 
Who  all  things  sees,  by  whom  are  all  things  seen. 
Believe  me,  nymph!  (for  I  the  truth  have  shew'd,) 
Thy  charms  have  pow'r  to  charm  so  great  a  god. 

Confus'd  she  heard  him  his  soft  passion  tell;       350 
And  on  the  floor,  untwirl'd,  the  spindle  fell : 
Still  from  the  sweet  confusion  some  new  grace 
Blush'd  out  by  stealth  and  languish'd  in  her  face. 
The  lover  now  inflam'd,  himself  put  on, 
And  out  at  once  the  god  all  radiant  shone.  355 

The  virgin  startled  at  his  alter'd  form, 
Too  weak  to  bear  a  god's  impetuous  storm : 
No  more  against  the  dazzling  youth  she  strove, 
But  silent  yielded,  and  indulged  his  love. 

This,  Clytie  knew,  and  knew  she  was  undone,    360 
Whose  soul  was  fix'd,  and  doated  on  the  Sun. 
She  rag'd  to  think  on  her  neglected  charms, 
And  Phoebus,  panting  in  another's  arms. 

BOOK  IV.  87 

With  envious  madness  fir'd,  she  flies  in  haste, 

And  tells  the  ting  his  daughter  was  unchaste.        365 

The  king,  incens'd  to  hear  his  honour  stain'd, 

No  more  the  father,  nor  the  man  retain'd, 

In  rain  she  stretch'd  her  arms,  and  turn'd  her  eyes 

To  her  lov'd  god,  th'  enlightner  of  the  skies. 

In  vain  she  own'd  it  was  a  crime,  yet  still  370 

It  was  a  crime  not  acted  by  her  will. 

The  brutal  sire  stood  deaf  to  ev'ry  pray'r, 

And  deep  in  earth  entomb'd  alive  the  fair. 

What  Phoebus  could  do  was  by  Phoebus  done, 

Full  on  her  grave  with  pointed  beams  he  shone :     375 

To  pointed  beams  the  gaping  earth  gave  way; 

Had  the  nymph  eyes,  her  eyes  had  seen  the  day ; 

But  lifeless  now,  yet  lovely  still  she  lay. 

Not  more  the  god  wept,  when  the  world  was  fir'd, 

And  in  the  wreck  his  blooming  boy  expir'd.  380 

The  vital  flame  he  strives  to  light  again, 

And  warm  the  frozen  blood  in  ev'ry  vein  : 

But  since  resistless  fates  denied  that  pow'r, 

On  the  cold  nymph  he  rain'd  a  nectar  show'r. 

Ah !  undeserving  thus  (he  said)  to  die,  385 

Yet  still  in  odours  thou  shalt  reach  the  sky. 

The  body  soon  dissolv'd,  and  all  around 
Perfum'd  with  heav'nly  fragrances  the  ground. 
A  sacrifice  for  gods  up-rose  from  thence, 
A  sweet  delightful  tree  of  frankincense.  390 

Though  guilty  Clytie  thus  the  Sun  betray'd, 
By  too  much  passion  she  was  guilty  made  : 
Excess  of  love  begot  excess  of  grief, 
Grief  fondly  bade  her  hence  to  hope  relief. 
But  angry  Phoebus  hears,  unmov'd,  her  sighs,         395 
And  scornful  from  her  loath'd  embraces  flies. 
All  day,  all  night,  in  trackless  wilds,  alone 
She  pinM,  and  taught  the  list'ning  rocks  her  moan. 
On  the  bare  earth  she  lies,  her  bosom  bare, 
Loose  her  attire,  dishevell'd  is  her  hair.  400 

Nine  times  the  morn  unbarr'd  the  gates  of  light, 
As  oft  were  spread  th'  alternate  shades  of  night ; 
So  long  no  sustenance  the  mourner  knew, 
Unless  she  drank  her  tears,  or  suck'd  the  dew : 


She  turn'd  about,  but  rose  not  from  the  ground,    405 
Turn'd  to  the  Sun,  still  as  he  roll'd  his  round  : 
On  his  bright  face  hung  her  desiring  eyes, 
Till  fix'd  to  earth,  she  strove  in  vain  to  rise. 
Her  looks  their  paleness  in  a  flow'r  retain'd, 
But  here  and  there  some  purple  streaks  they  gain'd. 
Still  the  lov'd  object  the  fond  leafs  pursue,  411 

Still  move  their  root,  the  moving  sun  to  view, 
And  in  the  Heliotrope  the  nymph  is  true. 

The  sisters  heard  these  wonders  with  surprise, 
But  part  receiv'd  them  as  romantic  lies  ;  415 

And  partly  rally'd,  that  they  could  not  see 
In  pow'rs  divine  so  vast  an  energy. 
Part  own'd,  true  gods  such  miracles  might  do, 
But  own'd  not  Bacchus  one  among  the  true. 
At  last  a  common,  just  request  they  make,  420 

And  beg  Alcithoe  her  turn  to  take. 
I  will  (she  said)  and  please  you,  if  I  can, 
Then  shot  her  shuttle  swift,  and  thus  began  : 

The  fate  of  Daphnis  is  a  fate  too  known, 
Whom  an  enamour'd  nymph  transform 'd  to  stone, 
Because  she  fear'd  another  nymph  might  see         42<i 
The  lovely  youth,  and  love  as  much  as  she : 
So  strange  the  madness  is  of  jealousy  I 
Nor  shall  I  tell,  what  changes  Scython  made, 
And  how  he  walk'd  a  man,  or  tripp'd  a  maid.         430 
You  too  would  peevish  frown,  and  patience  want 
To  hear  how  Celmis  grew  an  adamant. 
He  once  was  dear  to  Jove,  and  saw  of  old 
Jove,  when  a  child,  but  what  he  saw  he  told. 
Crocus,  and  Smilax,  may  be  turn'd  to  flow'rs,         435 
And  the  Curetes  spring  from  bounteous  show'rs ; 
I  pass  a  hundred  legends,  stale  as  these, 
And  with  sweet  novelty  your  taste  will  please. 

How  Salmacis,  with  weak  enfeebling  streams 
Softens  the  body,  and  unnerves  the  limbs,  440 

And  what  the  secret  cause,  shall  here  be  shewn ; 
The  cause  is  secret,  but  th'  effect  is  known. 

The  Naids  nurs'd  an  infant  heretofore, 
That  Cytherea  once  to  Hermes  bore : 
From  both  th'  illustrious  authors  of  his  race  445 

BOOK  IV.  89 

The  child  was  nam'd ;  nor  was  it  hard  to  trace 

Both  the  bright  parents  through  the  infant's  face. 

When  fifteen  years,  in  Ida's  cool  retreat, 

The  boy  had  told,  he  left  his  native  seat, 

And  sought  fresh  fountains  in  a  foreign  soil :  450 

The  pleasure  lessen'd  the  attending  toil. 

With  eager  steps  the  Lycian  fields  he  cross'd, 

And  fields  that  border  on  the  Lycian  coast; 

A  river  here  he  view'd  so  lovely  bright, 

It  shew'd  the  bottom  in  a  fairer  light,  455 

Nor  kept  a  sand  conceal'd  from  human  sight. 

The  stream  produc'd  nor  slimy  ooze,  nor  weeds, 

Nor  miry  rushes,  nor  the  spiky  reeds  ; 

But  dealt  enriching  moisture  all  around, 

The  fruitful  banks  with  cheerful  verdure  crown'd,  460 

And  kept  the  spring  eternal  on  the  ground. 

A  nymph  presides,  nor  practis'd  in  the  chase, 

Nor  skilful  at  the  bow,  nor  at  the  race ; 

Of  all  the  blue-ey'd  daughters  of  the  main, 

The  only  stranger  to  Diana's  train :  465 

Her  sisters  often,  as  'tis  said,  would  cry, 

Fy,  Salmacis,  what  always  idle  !  fy ; 

Or  taky  the  quiver,  or  thy  arrows  seize, 

And  mis.  the  toils  of  hunting  with  thy  ease ; 

Nor  quivers  she  nor  arrows  e'er  would  seize,  470 

Nor  mix  the  toils  of  hunting  with  her  ease ; 

But  oft  would  bathe  her  in  the  crystal  tide, 

Oft  with  a  comb  her  dewy  locks  divide : 

Now  in  the  limpid  streams  she  views  her  face, 

And  dress'd  her  image  in  the  floating  glass :  475 

On  beds  of  leaves  she  now  repos'd  her  limbs ; 

Now  gather'd  flow'rs  that  grew  about  her  streams, 

And  then  by  chance  was  gathering  as  she  stood 

To  view  the  boy,  and  long'd  for  what  she  view'd. 

Fain  would  she  meet  the  youth  with  hasty  feet,  480 
She  fain  would  meet  him,  but  refus'd  to  meet. 
Before  her  locks  were  set  with  nicest  care, 
And  well  deserv'd  to  be  reputed  fair. 
Bright  youth  (she  cries),  whom  all  thy  features  prove 
A  god,  and,  if  a  god,  the  god  of  Love ;  484 

But  if  a  mortal,  blest  thy  nurse's  breast, 
Blest  are  thy  parents,  and  thy  sisters  blest ; 


But  oh,  how  blest!  how  more  than  blest  thy  bride, 
Ally'd  in  bliss,  if  any  yet  ally'd. 
If  so,  let  mine  the  stol'n  enjoyments  be :  490 

If  not,  behold  a  willing  bride  in  me. 

The  boy  knew  nought  of  love ,  and,touch'd  with  shame , 
He  strove  and  blush'd ;  but  still  the  blush  became : 
In  rising  blushes  still  fresh  beauties  rose ; 
The  sunny  side  of  fruit  such  blushes  shews;  495 

And  such  the  moon,  when  all  her  silver  white 
Turns,  in  eclipses,  to  a  ruddy  light. 
The  nymph  still  begs,  if  not  a  nobler  bliss, 
A  cold  salute  at  least,  a  sister's  kiss; 
And  now  prepares  to  take  the  lovely  boy  500 

Between  her  arms.     He  innocently  coy, 
Replies :  Or  leave  me  to  myself  alone, 
You  rude,  uncivil  nymph,  or  I'll  begone, 
Fair  stranger,  then  (says  she),  it  shall  be  so : 
And,  for  she  fear'd  his  threats,  she  feign'd  to  go ;     505 
But  hid  within  a  covert's  neighb'ring  green, 
She  kept  him  still  in  sight,  herself  unseen. 
The  boy  now  fancies  all  the  danger  o'er, 
And  innocently  sports  at  the  shore ; 
Playful  and  wanton,  to  the  stream  he  trips,  510 

And  dips  his  foot,  and  shivers  as  he  dips  : 
The  coolness  pleas'd  him,  and  with  eager  haste, 
His  airy  garments  on  the  banks  he  cast ; 
His  godlike  features,  and  his  heav'nly  hue, 
And  all  his  beauties  were  expos'd  to  view.  515 

His  naked  limbs  the  nymph  with  rapture  spies, 
While  hotter  passions  in  her  bosom  rise, 
Flush  in  her  cheeks,  and  sparkle  in  her  eyes. 
She  longs,  she  burns  to  clasp  him  in  her  arms, 
And  looks,  and  sighs,  and  kindles  at  his  charms.    520 

Now  all  undrest  upon  the  banks  he  stood, 
And  clapt  his  sides,  and  leapt  into  the  flood: 
His  lovely  limbs  the  silver  waves  divide, 
His  limbs  appear  more  lovely  through  the  tide ; 
As  lilies  shut  within  a  crystal  case,  525 

Receive  a  glossy  lustre  from  the  glass. — 
He's  mine,  he's  all  my  own  (the  Is'a'id  cries), 
And  flings  off  all,  and  after  him  she  flies : — 
And  now  she  fastens  on  him  as  he  swims, 
And  holds  him  close,  and  wraps  about  his  limbs.    530 

BOOK  IV.  91 

The  more  the  boy  resisted,  and  was  coy, 

The  more  she  clasp'd  and  kiss'd  the  straggling  boy. 

So  when  the  wriggling  snake  is  snatch'd  on  high 

In  eagle's  claws,  and  hisses  in  the  sky ; 

Around  the  foe  his  twirling  tail  he  flings,  535 

A.nd  twists  her  legs,  and  writhes  about  her  wings. 

The  restless  boy  still  obstinately  strove 
To  free  himself,  and  still  refused  her  love. 
Amidst  his  limbs  she  kept  her  limbs  entwin'd: 
And  whyr  coy  youth  (she  cries),  why  thus  unkind  ? 
O,  may  the  gods  thus  keep  us  ever  join'd !  541 

O  may  we  never,  never  part  again ! 

So  pray'd  the  nymph,  nor  did  she  pray  in  vain : 
For  now  now  she  finds  him,  as  his  limbs  she  press'd . 
Grow  nearer  still,  and  nearer  to  her  breast ;  545 

Till,  piercing  each  the  other's  flesh  they  run 
Together  and  incorporate  in  one : 
Last,  in  one  face  are  both  their  faces  join'd, 
As  when  the  stock  and  grafted  twig,  combin'd, 
Shoot  up  the  same,  and  wear  a  common  rind:        550 
Both  bodies  in  a  single  body  mix, 
A  single  body  with  a  double  sex. 

The  boy,  thus  lost  in  woman,  now  survey'd 
The  river's  guilty  stream,  and  thus  he  pray'd 
(He  pray'd,  but  wonder'd  at  his  softer  tone,  555 

Surpris'd  to  hear  a  voice  but  half  his  own) :  — 
You  parent-gods,  whose  heav'nly  names  I  bear, 
Hear  your  Hermaprodite,  and  grant  my  pray'r ; 
O  grant,  that  whomsoe'er  these  streams  contain, 
If  man  he  enter'd,  he  may  rise  again  560 

Supple,  unsinew'd,  and  but  half  a  man ! 

The  heav'nly  parents  answer 'd,  from  on  high, 
Their  two-shap'd  son,  the  double  votary; 
Then  gave  a  secret  virtue  to  the  flood, 
And  ting'd  its  source  to  make  his  wishes  good.       565 

But  Mineus'  daughter  still  their  tasks  pursue, 
To  wickedness  most  obstinately  true  : 
At  Bacchus  still  they  laugh; — when,  all  around, 
Unseen,  the  timbrels  hoarse  were  heard  to  sound  : 
Saffron,  and  myrrh,  their  fragrant  odours  shed,      570 


And  now  the  present  deity  they  dread. 
Strange  to  relate !  here  ivy  first  was  seen, 
Along  the  distaff  crept  the  wondrous  green : 
Then  sudden-springing  vines  began  to  bloom, 
And  the  soft  tendrils  curl'd  around  the  loom :         575 
While  purple  clusters,  dangling  from  on  high, 
Ting'd  the  wrought  purple  with  a  second  die. 
Now  from  the  skies  was  shot  a  doubtful  light, 
The  day  declining  to  the  bounds  of  night. 
The  fabric's  firm  foundations  shake  all  o'er,  580 

False  tigers  rage,  and  figur'd  lions  roar : 
Torches,  aloft,  seen  blazing  in  the  air, 
And  angry  flashes  of  red  lightnings  glare. 
To  dark  recesses,  the  dire  sight  to  shun, 
Swift  the  pale  sisters  in  confusion  run :  585 

Their  arms  were  lost  in  pinions,  as  they  fled, 
And  subtle  films  each  slender  limb  o'erspread: 
Their  alter'd  forms  their  senses  soon  reveal'd; 
Their  forms,  how  alter'd,  darkness  still  conceal'd. 
Close  to  the  roof  each,  wond'ring,  upwards  springs, 
Borne  on  unknown,  transparent,  plumeless  wings.  591 
They  strove  for  words ;  their  little  bodies  found 
No  words,  but  murmur'd  in  a  fainting  sound. 
In  towns,  not  woods,  the  sooty  bats  delight, 
And  never,  till  the  dusk,  begin  their  flight ;  595 

Till  Vesper  rises  with  his  ev'ning  flame; 
From  whom  the  Romans  have  deriv'd  their  name. 

The  pow'r  of  Bacchus  now  o'er  Thebes  had  flown, 
With  awful  rev'rence  soon  the  god  they  own. 
Proud  Ino,  all  around,  the  wonder  tells,  600 

And  on  her  nephew  deity  still  dwells. 
Of  num'rous  sisters,  she  alone  yet  knew 
No  grief,  but  grief  which  she  from  sisters  drew. 

Imperial  Juno  saw  her,  with  disdain, 
Vain  in  her  offspring;  in  her  consort  vain,  605 

Who  rul'd  the  trembling  Thebans  with  a  nod  ; 
But  saw  her  vainest  in  her  foster  god. — 
Could,  then  (she  cry'd),  a  bastard  boy  have  pow'r 
To  make  a  mother  her  own  son  devour? 
Could  he  the  Tuscan  crew  to  fishes  change,  610 

And  now  three  sisters  damn  to  forms  so  strange  ? 

BOOK  tV.  03 

Yet,  shall  the  wife  of  Jove  find  no  relief? 
Shall  she,  still  unreveng'd,  disclose  her  grief  t 
Have  I  the  mighty  freedom  to  complain? 
Is  that  my  pow'r  ?  is  that  tu  ease  my  pain  ?  CIS 

A  foe  ha8  taught  me  vengeance ;  and  who  ought 
To  scorn  that  vengeance,  which  a  foe  has  taught  ? 
What  sure  destruction  frantic  rage  can  throw, 
The  gaping  wounds  of  slaughter'd  Pentheus  shew. 
Why  should  not  Ino,  fir'd  with  madness  stray  ?      620 
like  her  mad  sisters,  her  own  kindred  slay  ? 
Why  she  not  follow  where  they  lead  the  way  ? 

Down  a  steep  yawning  cave,  where  yews  display'd 
In  arches  meet,  and  lend  a  baleful  shade, 
Through  silent  labyrinths  a  passage  lies  625 

To  mournful  regions  and  infernal  skies: 
Here  Styx,  exhales  its  noisome  clouds :   and  here, 
The  fun'ral  rites  once  paid,  all  souls  appear. 
Stiff  cold,  and  horror  with  a  ghastly  face 
And  staring  eyes,  infest  the  dreary  place.  630 

Ghosts,  new  arriv'd,  and  strangers  to  these  plains, 
Know  not  the  palace  where  grim  Pluto  reigns. 
They  journey  doubtful,  nor  the  road  can  tell, 
Which  leads  to  the  metropolis  of  hell. 
A  thousand  avenues  those  tow'rs  command,  035 

A  thousand  gates  for  ever  open  stand. 
As  all  the  rivers,  disembogu'd,  find  room 
For  all  their  waters  in  old  Ocean's  womb: 
So  this  vast  city  worlds  of  shades  receives, 
And  space  for  millions  still  of  worlds  she  leaves.    640 
Th'  unbodyM  spectres  freely  rove,  and  shew, 
Whate'er  they  lov'd  on  earth,  they  love  below. 
The  lawyers,  still,  or  right,  or  wrong,  support, 
The  courtiers  smoothly  glide  to  Pluto's  court. 
Still  airy  heroes  thoughts  of  glory  fire ;  645 

Still  the  dead  poet  strings  his  deathless  lyre; 
And  lovers  still,  with  fancy'd  darts,  expire. 

The  queen  of  heav'n,  to  gratify  her  hate, 
And  soothe  immortal  wrath,  forgets  her  state. 
Down  from  the  realms  of  day,  to  realms  of  night,  650 
The  goddess  swift  precipitates  her  flight. 
At  hell  arriv'd,  the  noise  hell's  porter  heard, 


Th'  enormous  dog  his  triple  head  uprear'd : 

Thrice  from  three  grisly  throats  he  howl'd  profound, 

Then  suppliant  couch'd,  and  stretch'd  along  the 

ground.  655 

The  trembling  threshold  which  Saturnia  press'd, 
The  weight  of  such  divinity  confess'd. 

Before  a  lofty,  adamantine  gate, 
Which  clos'd  a  tow'r  of  brass,  the  Furies  sat; 
Mis-shapen  forms,  tremendous  to  the  sight,  660 

Th'  implacable,  foul  daughters  of  the  Night. 
A  sounding  whip  each  bloody  sister  shakes, 
Or  from  her  tresses  combs  the  curling  snakes. 
But  now,  great  Juno's  majesty  was  known, 
Thro'  the  thick  gloom,  all-heav'nly  bright,  she  shone  : 
The  hideous  monsters  their  obedience  shew'd,        666 
And,  rising  from  their  seats,  submissive  bow'd. 

This  is  the  place  of  woe;  here  groan  the  dead ; 
Huge  Tityus  o'er  nine  acres  here  is  spread : 
Fruitful  for  pain,  th'  immortal  liver  bleeds,  670 

Still  grows,  and  still  th'  insatiate  vulture  feeds. 
Poor  Tantalus  to  taste  the  water  tries, 
But  from  his  lips  the  faithless  water  flies : 
Then  thinks  the  bending  tree  he  can  command, 
The  tree  starts  backwards,  and  eludes  his  hand.     675 
The  labour  too  of  Sisyphus  is  vain ; 
Up  the  steep  mount  he  heaves  the  stone  with  pain , 
Down  from  the  summit  rolls  the  stone  again. 
The  Belides  their  leaky  vessels  still 
Are  ever  filling,  and  yet  never  fill :  6tw 

Doom'd  to  this  punishment  for  blood  they  shed, 
For  bridegrooms  slaughter'd  in  the  bridal  bed. 
Stretched  on  the  rolling  wheel  Ixion  lies; 
Himself  he  follows,  and  himself  he  flies. 
Ixion,  tortur'd,  Juno  sternly  ey'd,  085 

Then  turn'd,  and  toiling  Sisyphus  espy'd  : — 
And  why  (she  said)  so  wretched  is  the  fate 
Of  him,  whose  brother  proudly  reigns  in  state? 
Yet  still  my  altars  unador'd  have  been 
By  Athamas,  and  his  presumptuous  queen.  690 

What  caus'd  her  hate,  the  goddess  thus  confess'd, 
What  caus'd  her  journey,  now  was  more  than  guew»'d. 
That  hate,  relentless,  its  revenge  did  want, 

BOOK  IV.  95 

And  that  revenge  the  Furies  soon  could  grant : 

They  could  the  glory  of  proud  Thebes  efface,  695 

And  hide,  in  nun,  the  Cadmean  race. 

For  this  she  largely  promises,  intreats, 

And  to  intreaties  adds  imperial  threats. 

Then  fell  Tisiphone  with  rage  was  stung, 

And  from  her  mouth  th'  untwisted  serpents  flung.  700 

To  gain  this  trifling  boon,  there  is  no  need 
(She  cry'd)  in  formal  speeches  to  proceed. 
Whatever  thou  command'st  to  do,  is  done  ; 
Believe  it  finish'd,  though  not  yet  begun. 
But  from  these  melancholy  seats  repair  705 

To  happier  mansions,  and  to  purer  air. 

She  spoke:  The  goddess,  darting  upwards,  flies, 
And  joyous  re-ascends  her  native  skies  : 
Nor  enter'd  there,  till  'round  her  Iris  threw 
Ambrosial  sweets,  and  pour'd  celestial  dew.  710 

The  faithful  fury,  guiltless  of  delays, 
With  cruel  haste  the  dire  command  obeys. 

Girt  in  a  bloody  gown,  a  torch  she  shakes, 
And  'round  her  neck  twines  speckled  wreaths  of  snakes; 
Fear,  and  dismay,  and  agonizing  pain,  715 

With  frantic  rage,  complete  the  loveless  train. 
To  Thebes  her  flight  she  sped,  and  hell  forsook  : 
At  her  approach  the  Theban  turrets  shook ; 
The  sun  shrunk  back,  thick  clouds  the  day  o'ercast, 
And  springing  greens  were  wither'd,  as  she  pass'd.  720 

Now,  dismal  yellings  heard,  strange  spectres  seen, 
Confound  as  much  the  monarch  as  the  queen. 
In  vain  to  quit  the  palace  they  prepar'd ; 
Tisiphone  was  there,  and  kept  the  ward. 
She  wide-extended  her  unfriendly  arms,  725 

And  all  the  fury  lavish'd  all  her  harms. 
Part  of  her  tresses  loudly  hiss,  and  part 
Spread  poison,  as  their  forky  tongues  they  dart. 
Then  from  her  middle  locks  two  snakes  she  drew, 
Whose  merit  from  superior  mischief  grew  :  730 

Th'  envenom'd  ruin,  thrown  with  spiteful  care, 
Clung  to  the  bosoms  of  the  hapless  pair: 
The  hapless  pair  soon  with  wild  thoughts  were  fir'd, 
And  madness,  by  a  thousand  ways  inspir'd. 
'Ti»  true,  th'  nnwounded  body  still  was  sound,       73§ 


But  'twas  the  soul  which  felt  the  deadly  wound. 

Nor  did  th'  unsated  monster  here  give  o'er, 

But  dealt  of  plagues  a  fresh,  unnumber'd  store : 

Each  baneful  juice  too  well  she  understood  : 

Foam,  churn'd  by  Cerberus,  and  Hydra's  blood.     740 

Hot  hemlock,  and  cold  aconite  she  chose, 

Delighted  in  variety  of  woes. 

Whatever  can  untune  th'  harmonious  soul, 

And  its  mild,  reas'ning  faculties  control ; 

Give  false  ideas,  raise  desires  profane,  745 

And  whirl  in  eddies  the  tumultuous  brain  ; 

Mix'd  with  curs'd  art,  she  direfully  around 

Through  all  their  nerves  diffus'd  the  sad  compound : 

Then  toss'd  her  torch  in  circles  still  the  same, 

Improv'd  their  rage,  and  added  flame  to  flame.      750 

The  grinning  Fury  her  own  conquest  spy'd, 

And  to  her  rueful  shades  return'd  with  pride, 

And  threw  th'  exhausted,  useless  snakes  aside. 

Now  Athamas  cried  out  (his  reason  fled), 
Here,  fellow-hunters,  let  the  toils  be  spread.  755 

I  saw  a  lioness,  in  quest  of  food, 
With  her  two  young,  run  roaring  in  this  wood. 

Again  the  fancy'd  savages  were  seen, 
As  through  his  palace  still  he  chas'd  his  queen; 
Then  tore  Learchus  from  her  breast :  The  child      760 
Stretch'd  little  arms,  and  on  its  father  smil'd  : 
A  father  now  no  more,  who  now  begun 
Around  his  head  to  whirl  his  giddy  son, 
And,  quite  insensible  to  nature's  call, 
The  helpless  infant  flung  against  the  wall.  765 

The  same  mad  poison  in  the  mother  wrought, 
Young  Melicerta  in  her  arms  she  caught, 
And  with  disorder'd  tresses,  howling,  flies, 
O !   Bacchus,  Evo'e,  Bacchus !  loud  she  cries. 
The  name  of  Bacchus,  Juno  laugh'd  to  hear,  770 

And  said,  Thy  foster-god  has  cost  thee  dear. 

A  rock  there  stood,  whose  side  the  beating  waves 
Had  long  consurn'd,  and  hollow'd  into  caves  : 
The  head  shot  forwards  in  a  bending  steep, 
And  cast  a  dreadful  covert  o'er  the  deep.  775 

The  wretched  Ino  on  destruction  bent, 
Climb'd  up  the  cliff;  such  strength  her  fury  lent : 

BOOK  IV.  97 

Thence  with  her  guiltless  hoy,  who  wept  in  vain, 
At  one  bold  spring  she  plung'd  into  the  main. 

Her  niece's  fate  touch'd  Cytherea's  breast,  780 

And  in  soft  sounds  she  Neptune  thus  address'd  : 
Great  god  of  waters,  whose  extended  sway 
Is  next  to  his,  whom  heav'n  and  earth  obey  : 
Let  not  the  suit  of  Venus  thee  displease, 
Pity  the  floaters  on  th'  Ionian  seas.  785 

Increase  thy  subject  gods,  nor  yet  disdain 
To  add  my  kindred  to  that  glorious  train. 
If  from  the  sea  I  may  such  honours  claim, 
If  'tis  desert,  that  from  the  sea  I  came, 
As  Grecian  poets  artfully  have  sung,  790 

And  in  the  name  confest,  from  whence  I  sprung. 

Pleas'd  Neptune  nodded  his  assent;  and  free 
Both  soon  became  from  frail  mortality. 
He  gave  them  form,  and  majesty  divine, 
And  bade  them  glide  along  the  foamy  brine.  795 

For  Melicerta,  is  Palaemon  known ; 
And  Ino  once,  Leucothbe  is  grown. 

The  Theban  matrons  their  lov'd  queen  pursu'd, 
And,  tracing  to  the  rock,  her  footsteps  view'd. 
Too  »ertain  of  her  fate,  they  rend  the  skies  800 

With  piteous  shrieks,  and  lamentable  cries. 
All  beat  their  breasts,  and  Juno  all  upbraid, 
Who  still  remember'd  a  deluded  maid : 
Who,  still  revengeful  for  one  stol'n  embrace, 
Thus  wreak'd  her  hate  on  the  Cadmean  race.  805 

This  Juno  heard  ; — And  shall  such  elfs  (she  cry'd) 
Dispute  my  justice,  or  my  pow'r  deride? 
You  too  shall  feel  my  wrath,  not  idly  spent; 
A  goddess  never  for  insults  was  meant.  809 

She,  who  lov'd  most,  and  who  most  lov'd  had  been, 
Said,  Not  the  waves  shall  part  me  from  my  queen. 
She  strove  to  plunge  into  the  roaring  flood ; 
Fix'd  to  the  stone,  a  stone  herself  she  stood. 
This,  on  her  breast  would  fain  her  blows  repeat ; 
Her  stiffen'd  hands  refus'd  her  breast  to  beat:         815 
That,  stretch'd  her  arms  unto  the  seas ;  in  vain 
Her  arms  she  labour'd  to  unstretch  again. 
To  tear  her  comely  locks  another  try'd ; 


Both  comely  locks  and  fingers  petrify'd. 
Part  thus :  but  Juno,  -with  a  softer  mind,  820 

Part  doom'd  to  mix  among  the  feather'd  kind. 
Transform'd,  the  name  of  Theban  birds  they  keep, 
And  skim  the  surface  of  that  fatal  deep. 

Meantime,  the  wretched  Cadmus  mourns,  nor  knows 
That  they  who  mortal  fell,  immortal  rose.  825 

With  a  long  series  of  new  ills  opprest, 
He  droops,  and  all  the  man  forsakes  his  breast. 
Strange  prodigies  confound  his  frighted  eyes  ; 
From  the  fair  city,  which  he  rais'd,  he  flies  : 
As  if  misfortune  not  pursu'd  his  race,  830 

But  only  hung  o'er  that  devoted  place. 
Resolv'd  by  sea  to  seek  some  distant  land, 
At  last  he  safely  gain'd  th'  Illyrian  strand. 
Cheerless  himself,  his  consort  still  he  cheers, 
Hoary,  and  loaded  both  with  woes  and  years.         835 
Then  to  recount  past  sorrows  they  begin, 
And  trace  them  to  the  gloomy  origin . 

That  serpent  sure  was  hall ow'd  (Cadmus  cry'd) 
Which  once  my  spear  transfix'd  with  foolish  pride  ; 
When  the  big  teeth,  a  seed  before  unknown,  840 

By  me  along  the  wond'ring  glebe  were  sown, 
And  sprouting  armies  by  themselves  o'erthrown. 
If  thence  the  wrath  of  Heav'n  on  me  is  bent, 
May  Heav'n  conclude  it  with  one  sad  event ; 
To  an  extended  serpent  change  the  man  ; —  845 

And,  while  he  spoke,  the  wish'd-for  change  began. 
His  skin  with  sea-green  spots  was  vary'd  round, 
And  on  his  belly  prone  he  press'd  the  ground  : 
He  glitter'd  soon  with  many  a  golden  scale, 
And  his  shrunk  legs  clos'd  in  a  spiry  tail ;  850 

Arms  yet  remain'd,  remaining  arms  he  spread 
To  his  lov'd  wife,  and  human  tears  yet  shed. 

Come,  my  Harmonia,  come,  thy  face  recline 
Down  to  my  face;  still  touch,  what  still  is  mine. 
O,  let  these  hands,  while  hands,  be  gently  prest,    855 
While  yet  the  serpent  has  not  all  possest ! 
More  he  had  spoke,  but  strove  to  speak,  in  vain. 
The  forky  toogue  refus'd  to  tell  bis  pain, 
And  learn'd  in  hissings  only  to  complain.  859 

BOOK  IV.  99 

Then  shriek'd  Harmonia,  Stay,  my  Cadmus,  stay  ! 
Glide  not  in  such  a  monstrous  shape  away  ! 
Destruction,  like  impetuous  waves,  rolls  on ; 
Where  are  thy  feet,  thy  legs,  thy  shoulders  gone  ? 
Ghang'd  is  thy  visage,  chang'd  is  all  thy  frame  ; 
Cadmus  is  only  Cadmus  now  in  name.  8C5 

Ye  gods,  my  Cadmus  to  himself  restore, 
Or  me  like  him  transform;  I  ask  no  more. 

The  husband  serpent  shew'd  he  still  had  thought ; 
With  wonted  fondness  an  embrace  he  sought ; 
Play'd  round  her  neck,  in  many  a  harmless  twist, 
And  lick'd  that  bosom,  which,  a  man,  he  kiss'd.     871 
The  lookers  on  (for  lookers  on  there  were), 
Shock'd  at  the  sight,  half-dy'd  away  with  fear. 
The  transformation  was  again  renew'd, 
And,  like  the  husband,  chang'd  the  wife  they  view'd. 

Both,  serpents  now,  with  fold  involv'd  in  fold,    876 
To  the  next  covert  amicably  roll'd  : 
There  curl'd  they  lie,  or  wave  along  the  green; 
Fearless  see  men,  by  men  are  fearless  seen,  879 

Still  mild,  and  conscious  what  they  once  have  been. 

Yet  though  thi3  harsh,  inglorious  fate  they  found, 
Each  in  the  deathless  grandson  liv'd  renown'd : 
Through  conquer'd  India,  Bacchus  nobly  rode, 
And  Greece  with  temples  hail'd  the  conqu'ring  god. 
In  Argos  only,  proud  Acrisius  reign'd,  885 

Who  all  the  consecrated  rites  profan'd. 
Audacious  wretch!  thus  Bacchus  to  deny, 
And  the  great  Thunderer's  great  son  defy ! 
Nor  him  alone,  thy  daughter  vainly  strove, 
Brave  Perseus  of  celestial  stem  to  prove,  890 

And  herself  pregnant  by  a  golden  Jove. 
Yet  this  was  true,  and  truth  in  time  prevails; 
Acrisius  now  his  unbelief  bewails. 
His  former  thought,  an  impious  thought  he  found, 
And  both  the  hero  and  the  god  were  own'd.  $95 

He  saw,  already  one  in  heav'n  was  plac'd, 
And  one  with  more  than  mortal  triumphs  grac'd. 
The  victor  Perseus,  with  the  Gorgon  head, 
O'er  Libyan  sands  hi3  airy  journey  sped. 
The  gory  drops  distill'd,  as  swift  he  flew,  000 


And  from  each  drop  envenom'd  serpents  grew. 
The  mischiefs  brooded  on  the  barren  plains, 
And  still  th'  unhappy  fruitfulness  remains. 

Thence  Perseus,  like  a  cloud,  by  storms  was  driv'n. 
Thro'  all  th'  expanse  beneath  tbe  cope  of  heav'n.  905 
The  jarring  winds  unable  to  control, 
He  saw  the  southern  and  the  northern  pole  : 
And  eastward  thrice*,  and  westward  thrice  was 

And  from  the  skies  surveyd  the  nether  world. 
But  when  gray  ev'ning  shew'd  the  verge  of  night, 
He  fear'd  in  darkness  to  pursue  his  flight.  911 

He  pois'd  his  pinions,  and  forgot  to  soar, 
And  sinking,  clos'd  them  on  th'  Hesperian  shore : 
Then  begg'd  to  rest,  till  Lucifer  begun 
To  wake  the  morn,  the  morn  to  wake  the  sun.        915 

Here  Atlas  reign'd  of  more  than  human  size, 
And  in  his  kingdom  the  world's  limit  lies. 
Here  Titan  bids  his  wearied  coursers  sleep, 
And  cools  the  burning  axle  in  the  deep. 
The  mighty  monarch,  uncontroll'd,  alone,  920 

His  sceptre  sways ;  no  neigh b'ring  states  are  known. 
A  thousand  flocks  on  shady  mountains  fed, 
A.  thousand  herds  o'er  grassy  plains  were  spread. 
Here  wondrous  trees  their  shining  stores  unfold, 
Their  shining  stores  too  wondrous  to  be  told;  925 

Their  leaves,  their  branches,  and  their  apples,  gold. 

Then  Perseus  the  gigantic  prince  address'd, 
Humbly  implor'd  a  hospitable  rest : — 
If  bold  exploits  thy  admiration  fire 
(He  said),  I  fancy,  mine  thou  wilt  admire :  930 

Or  if  the  glory  of  a  race  can  move, 
Not  mean  my  glory,  for  I  spring  from  Jove. 

At  this  confession  Atlas  ghastly  star'd, 
Mindful  of  what  an  oracle  declar'd, 
That  the  dark  womb  of  time  conceal'd  a  day,  935 

Which  should,  disclos'd,  the  gloomy  gold  betray  : 
All  should  at  once  be  ravish'd  from  his  eyes, 
And  Jove's  own  progeny  enjoy  the  prize. 

For  this,  the  fruit  he  loftily  immur'd, 
And  a  fierce  dragon  the  strait  pass  secur'd ;  940 

BOOK  IV.  101 

For  this,  all  strangers  he  forbade  to  land, 
And  drove  them  from  th'  inhospitable  strand. 

To  Perseus  then :  Fly  quickly,  fly  this  coast, 
Nor  falsely  dare  thy  acts  and  race  to  boast. 

In  vain  the  hero  for  one  night  entreats ;  945 

Threat'ning  he  storms,  and  next  adds  force  to  threats. 

By  strength  not  Perseus  could  himself  defend, 
For  who  in  strength  with  Atlas  could  contend  1 — 
But  since  short  rest  to  me  thou  wilt  not  give, 
A  gift  of  endless  rest  from  me  receive. —  950 

He  said,  and  backward  turn'd,  no  more  conceal'd 
The  present,  and  Medusa's  head  reveal'd. 

Soon  the  high  Atlas  a  high  mountain  stood : 
His  locks,  and  beard,  became  a  leafy  wood : 
His  hands  and  shoulders  into  ridges  went,  955 

The  summit-head  still  crown'd  the  steep  ascent : 
His  bones  a  solid,  rocky  hardness  gain'd  : 
He  thus  immensely  grown  (as  fate  ordain'd), 
The  stars,  the  heav'ns,  and  all  the  gods  sustain'd. 

Now  jEoIus  had  with  strong  chains  confin'd       960 
And  deep  imprison'd  every  blust'ring  wind ; 
The  rising  Phosphor,  with  a  purple  light, 
Did  sluggish  mortals  to  new  toils  invite; 
His  feet  again  the  valiant  Perseus  plumes, 
And  his  keen  sabre  in  his  hand  resumes  ;  905 

Then  nobly  spurns  the  ground,  and  upwards  springs, 
And  cuts  the  liquid  air  with  sounding  wings. 
O'er  various  seas,  and  various  lands  he  pass'd, 
Till  ./Ethiopia's  shore  appear'd  at  last. 

Andromeda  was  there,  doom'd  to  atone,  970 

By  her  own  nun,  follies  not  her  own  : 
And  if  injustice  in  a  god  can  be, 
Such  was  the  Libyan  god's  unjust  decree. 
Chain  *d  to  a  rock  she  stood;  young  Perseus  stay'd 
His  rapid  flight,  to  view  the  beauteous  maid.  975 

So  sweet  her  fame,  so  exquisitely  fine, 
She  seem'd  a  statue  by  a  hand  divine, 
Had  not  the  wind  her  waving  tresses  shew'd, 
And  down  her  cheeks  the  melting  sorrows  flow'd. 

Her  faultless  form  the  hero's  bosom  fires ;  980 

The  more  he  looks,  the  more  he  still  admires. 


Th'  admirer  almost  had  forgot  to  fly, 

And  swift  descended,  flutt'ring  from  on  high. — 

O  virgin,  worthy  no  such  chains  to  prove, 

But  pleasing  chains  in  the  soft  folds  of  love  ;  985 

Thy  country,  and  thy  name  (he  said)  disclose, 

And  give  a  true  rehearsal  of  thy  woes. 

A  quick  reply  her  bashfulness  reftis'd, 
To  the  free-converse  of  a  man  unus'd : 
Her  rising  blushes  had  concealment  found  990 

From  her  spread  hands,  but  that  her  hands,  were 
She  acted  to  her  full  extent  of  pow'r,  [bound. 

And  bath'd  her  face  with  a  fresh,  silent  show'r. 
But  by  degrees  in  innocence  grown  bold, 
Her  name,  her  country,  and  her  birth  she  told:      995 
And  how  she  suffer'd  for  her  mother's  pride, 
Who  with  the  Nereids  once  in  beauty  vy'd. 

Part  yet  untold,  the  seas  began  to  roar, 
And  mounting  billows  tumbled  to  the  shore : 
Above  the  waves  a  monster  rais'd  his  head,  1000 

His  body  o'er  the  deep  was  widely  spread : 
Onward  he  flounc'd ;  aloud  the  virgin  cries ; 
Each  parent  to  her  shrieks  in  shrieks  replies ; 
But  she  had  deepest  cause  to  rend  the  skies. 
Weeping,  to  her  they  cling;  no  sign  appears  1005 

Of  help,  they  only  lend  their  helpless  tears*. 

Too  long  you  vent  your  sorrows  ( Perseus  said) ; 
Short  is  the  hour,  and  swift  the  time  of  aid. 
In  me,  the  son  of  thund'ring  Jove  behold, 
Got  in  a  kindly  shower  of  fruitful  gold.  1010 

Medusa's  snaky  head  is  now  my  prey, 
And  through  the  clouds  I  boldly  wing  my  way. 
If  such  desert  be  worthy  of  esteem, 
And,  if  your  daughter  I  from  death  redeem, 
Shall  she  be  mine?  shall  it  not  then  he  thought,   1015 
A  bride,  so  lovely,  was  too  cheaply  bought? 
For  her,  my  arms  I  willingly  employ, 
If  I  may  beauties,  which  I  save,  enjoy. 

The  parents  eagerly  the  terms  embrace, 
(For  who  would  slight  such  terms  in  such  a  case  ?) 
Nor  her  alone  they  promise,  but  beside,  1021 

The  dowry  of  a  kingdom  with  the  bride. 

As  well-rigg'd  galleys,  which  slaves,  sweating,  row, 

BOOK  IV.  103 

With  their  sharp  beaks  the  whiten'd  ocean  plow : 

So  when  the  monster  mov'd,  still  at  his  back        1025 

The  furrow'd  waters  left  a  foamy  track. 

Now  to  the  rock  he  was  advanc'd  so  nigh, 

Whirl'd  from  a  sling  a  stone  the  space  would  fly. 

Then  bounding,  upwards  the  brave  Perseus  sprung, 

And  in  mid  air  on  hov'ring  pinions  hung.  1030 

His  shadow  quickly  floated  on  the  main, 

The  monster  could  not  his  wild  rage  restrain, 

But  at  the  floating  shadow  leap'd  in  vain. 

As  when  Jove's  bird,  a  speckled  serpent  spies, 

Which  in  the  shine  of  Phosbus  basking  lies,  1035 

Unseen,  he  souses  down,  and  bears  away, 

Truss'd  from  behind,  the  vainly  hissing  prey. 

To  writhe  his  neck  the  labour  nought  avails, 

Too  deep  th'  imperial  talons  pierce  his  scales. 

Thus  the  wing'd  hero  now  descends,  now  soars,    1040 

And  at  his  pleasure,  the  vast  monster  gores. 

Full  in  his  back,  swift  stooping  from  above, 

The  crooked  sabre  to  its  hilt  he  drove. 

The  monster  rag'd  impatient  of  the  pain, 

First  bounded  high,  and  then  sunk  low  again.       1045 

Now,  like  a  savage  boar,  when  chaf'd  with  wounds, 

And  bay'd  with  op'ning  mouths  of  hungry  hounds, 

He  on  the  foe  turns  with  collected  might, 

Who  still  eludes  him  with  an  airy  flight ; 

And  wheeling  round,  the  scaly  armour  tries  1050 

Of  his  thick  sides:  his  thinner  tail  now  plies : 

Till,  from  repeated  strokes,  out  gush'd  a  flood, 

And  the  waves  redden'd  with  the  streaming  blood. 

At  last,  the  dropping  wings,  befoam'd  all  o'er, 

With  flaggy  heaviness  their  master  bore :  1055 

A  rock  he  spy'd,  whose  humble  head  was  low, 

Bare  at  an  ebb,  but  cover'd  at  a  flow. 

A  ridgy  hold,  he,  thither  flying,  gain'd, 

And,  with  one  hand,  his  bending  weight  sustain'd ; 

With  th'  other,  vig'rous  blows  he  dealt  around,    1060 

And  the  home-thrusts  th'  expiring  monster  own'd. 

In  deaf'ning  shouts  the  glad  applauses  rise, 

And  peal  on  peal  runs  rattling  through  the  skies, 

The  saviour  youth  the  royal  pair  confess,  [bless.  1065 

And,  with  heav'd.  hands,  their  daughter's  bridegroom 


The  beauteous  bride  moves  on,  now  loos'd  from  chains.. 
The  cause,  and  sweet  reward  of  all   the  hero's  pains, 

Meantime,  on  shore  triumphant  Perseus  stood, 
And  purg'd  his  hands,  smear'd  with  the  monster's 

blood : 
Then  in  the  windings  of  a  sandy  bed  1070 

Compos'd  Medusa's  execrable  head. 
But,  to  prevent  the  roughness,  leaves  he  threw, 
And  young,  green  twigs,  which  soft  in  waters  grew  : 
There  soft,  and  full  of  sap;  but  here,  when  laid, 
Touch'd  by  the  head,  that  softness  soon  decay'd.  1075 
The  wonted  flexibility  quite  gone, 
The  tender  scions  ha'rden'd  into  stone. 
Fresh,  juicy  twigs,  surpris'd,  the  Nereids  brought, 
Fresh,  juicy  twigs  the  same  contagion  caught. 
The  nymphs  the  petrifying  seeds  still  keep,  1080 

And  propagate  the  wonder  through  the  deep. 
The  pliant  sprays  of  coral  yet  declare 
Tbeir  stiff'ning  nature,  when  expos'd  to  air. 
Those  sprays,  which  did,  like  bending  osiers,  move, 
Snatch'd  from  their  element,  obdurate  prove,        1085 
And  shrubs  beneath  the  waves,  grow  stones  above. 

The  great  Immortals  grateful  Perseus  prais'd, 
And  to  three  pow'rs  three  turfy  altars  rais'd. 
To  Hermes  this,  and  that  he  did  assign 
To  Pallas  ;  the  mid  honours,  Jove,  were  thine.     1090 
He  hastes  for  Pallas  a  white  cow  to  cull, 
A  calf  for  Hermes,  but  for  Jove  a  bull. 
Then  seiz'd  the  prize  of  his  victorious  fight, 
Andromeda,  and  claim'd  the  nuptial  rite: 
Andromeda  alone  he  gTeatly  sought,  1095 

The  dowry  kingdom  was  not  worth  his  thought. 

Pleas'd  Hymen  now  his  golden  torch  displays  ; 
With  rich  oblations  fragrant  altars  blaze. 
Sweet  wreaths  of  choicest  flow'rs  are  hung  on  high, 
And  cloudless  pleasure  smiles  in  ev'ry  eye.  1100 

The  melting  music  melting  thoughts  inspires, 
And  warbling  songsters  aid  the  warbling  lyres. 
The  palace  opens  wide  in  pompous  state, 
And,  by  his  peers  surrounded,  Cepheus  sate. 
A  feast  was  serv'd,  fit  for  a  king  to  give,  1105 

And  fit  for  godlike  heroes  to  receive. 

BOOK  IV.  105 

The  banquet  ended,  the  gay,  cheerful  howl 
Mov'd  round,  and  brighten'd,  and  enlarg'd  each  soul. 
Then  Perseus  ask'd,  what  customs  there  obtain'd, 
And  by  what  laws  the  people  were  restrain'd.       1110 
Which  told;  the  teller  a  like  freedom  takes, 
And  to  the  warrior  his  petition  makes, 
To  know,  what  arts  had  won  Medusa's  snakes. 

The  hero  with  his  just  request  complies; 
Shews,  how  a  vale  beneath  cold  Atlas  lies,  l lis 

Where,  with  aspiring  mountains,  fenc'd  around, 
He  the  two  daughters  of  old  Phorcus  found. 
Fate  had  one  common  eye  to  both  assign'd, 
Each  saw  by  turns,  and  each  by  turns  was  blind. 
But  while  one  strove  to  lend  her  sister  sight,         1120 
He  stretch'd  his  hand,  and  stole  their  mutual  light, 
And  left  both  eyeless,  both  involv'd  in  night. 
Through  devious  wilds  and  trackless  woods  he  pass'd, 
And  at  the  Gorgon  seats  arriv'd  at  last : 
But  as  he  journey'd,  pensive  he  survey'd  1125 

What  wasteful  havoc  dire  Medusa  made. 
Here,  stood  still  breathing  statues,  men  before ; 
There,  rampant  lions  seem'd  in  stone  to  roar. 
Nor  did  he  yet,  affrighted,  quit  the  field, 
But  in  the  mirror  of  his  polish'd  shield  1130 

Reflected  saw  Medusa  slumbers  take, 
And  not  one  serpent  by  good  chance  awake. 
Then  backward  an  unerring  blow  he  sped, 
And  from  her  body  lopp'd  at  once  her  head. 
The  gore  prolific  prov'd;  with  sudden  force  1135 

Sprung  Pegasus,  and  wing'd  his  airy  course. 

The  heav'n-bprn  warrior  faithfully  went  on, 
And  told  the  num'rous  dangers  which  he  run. 
What  subject  seas,  what  lands  he  had  in  view, 
And  nigh  what  stars  th'  advent'rous  hero  flew.     1140 
At  last  he  silent  sat;  the  list'ning  throng 
Sigh'd  at  the  pause  of  his  delightful  tongue. 
Some  begg'd  to  know,  why  this  alone  should  wear, 
Of  all  the  sisters,  such  destructive  hair. 

Great  Perseus  then :  With  me  you  shall  prevail, 
Worth  the  relation,  to  relate  a  tale.  114C 

Medusa  once  had  charms :  to  gain  her  love 
A  rival  crowd  of  envious  lovers  strove. 
V  2 


They,  who  have  seen  her,  own  they  ne'er  did  trace 

More  moving  features  in  a  sweeter  face:  1150 

Yet  above  all,  her  length  of  hair,  they  own, 

In  golden  ringlets  wav'd,  and  graceful  shone. 

Her,  Neptune  saw,  and  with  such  beauties  fir'd, 

Resolv'd  to  compass  what  his  soul  desir'd. 

In  chaste  Minerva's  fane,  he,  lustful,  staid,  1155 

And  seiz'd,  and  rifled  the  young,  blushing  maid, 

The  bashful  goddess  turn'd  her  eyes  away, 

Nor  durst  such  bold  impurity  survey ; 

But  on  the  ravish'd  virgin  vengeance  takes, 

Her  shining  hair  is  chang'd  to  hissing  snakes.       1160 

These  in  her  iEgis,  Pallas  joys  to  bear, 

The  hissing  snakes  her  foes  more  sure  ensnare, 

Than  they  did  lovers  once,  when  shining  bair. 



The  story  of  Perseus,  continued.  Minerva's  Interview  with  the 
Muses.  The  fate  of  Pyreneus.  The  story  of  the  Pierides.  The 
song  of  the  Pierides.  The  song  of  the"  Muses.  The  rape  of 
Proserpine.  Cyan6  dissolves  to  a  fountain.  A  boy  transformed 
to  an  Eft.  The  transformation  of  Ascalaphus  intoan  owl.  The 
daughters  of  Achelous  transformed  to  Sirens.  The  story  of 
Arethusa.  The  transformation  of  Lyncus.  The  Pierid6s  trans- 
formed to  magpies. 

While  Perseus  entertain'd,  with  this  report, 

His  father  Cepheus,  and  the  list'ning  court ; 

Within  the  palace  walls  was  heard  aloud 

The  roaring  noise  of  some  unruly  crowd; 

Not  like  the  songs  which  cheerful  friends  prepare     5 

For  nuptial  days,  but  sounds  that  threaten'd  war ; 

And  all  the  pleasures  of  this  happy  feast, 

To  tumult  turn'd,  in  wild  disorder  ceas'd: 

So,  when  the  sea  is  calm,  we  often  find 

A  storm  rais'd  sudden  by  some  furious  wind.  10 

Chief  in  the  riot  Phineus  first  appear'd, 
The  rash  ringleader  of  this  boist'rous  herd  ; 
And,  brandishing  his  brazen-pointed  lance, 
Behold  (he  said),  an  injur'd  man  advance, 
Stung  with  resentment  for  his  ravish'd  wife,  15 

BOOK  V.  107 

Nor  shall  thy  wings,  O  Perseus,  save  thy  life; 
Nor  Jove  himself;  though  we've  been  often  told, 
Who  got  thee  in  the  form  ef  tempting  gold. 

His  lance  was  aim'd,  when  Cepheus  ran,  and  said  : 
Hold,  brother,  hold;  what  brutal  rage  has  made      20 
Your  frantic  mind  so  black  a  crime  conceive? 
Are  these  the  thanks  that  you  to  Perseus  give? 
This  the  reward  that  to  his  worth  you  pay, 
Whose  timely  valour  sav'd  Andromeda? 
Nor  was  it  he,  if  you  would  reason  right,  25 

Thatforc'd  her  from  you,  but  the  jealous  spite 
Of  envious  Nereids,  and  Jove's  high  decree; 
And  that  devouring  monster  of  the  sea, 
That  ready  with  his  jaws  wide  gaping  stood 
To  eat  my  child,  the  fairest  of  my  blood.  30 

You  lost  her  then,  when  she  seem'd  past  relief, 
And  wish'd,  perhaps,  her  death,  to  ease  your  grief 
With  my  afflictions :  not  content  to  view 
Andromeda  in  chains,  unhelp'd  by  you, 
Her  spouse  and  uncle ;  will  you  grieve  that  he  35 

Expos'd  his  life,  the  dying  maid  to  free  ? 
And  shall  you  claim  his  merit?  Had  you  thought 
Her  charms  so  great,  you  should  have  bravely  sought 
That  blessing  on  the  rocks,  where  fix.'d  she  lay: 
But  now  let  Perseus  bear  his  prize  away,  40 

By  service  gain'd,  by  promis'd  faith  possess'd ; 
To  him  I  owe  it,  that  my  age  is  bless'd 
Still  with  a  child :  nor  think  that  I  prefer 
Perseus  to  thee,  but  to  the  loss  of  her. 

Phineus  on  him  and  Perseus  roll'd  about  45 

His  eyes  in  silent  rage,  and  seem'd  to  doubt 
Which  to  destroy;  till,  resolute  at  length, 
He  threw  his  spear  with  the  redoubled  strength 
His  fury  gave  him,  and  at  Perseus  struck ; 
But  missing  Perseus,  in  his  seat  it  stuck ;  50 

Who,  springing  nimbly  up,  return'd  the  dart, 
And  almost  plung'd  it  in  his  rival's  heart ; 
But  he,  for  safety,  to  the  altar  ran, 
Unfit  protection  for  so  vile  a  man ; 
Yet  was  the  stroke  not  vain,  as  Rhastus  found,        55 
Who,  in  his  brow,  receiv'd  a  mortal  wound ; 
Headlong  he  tumbled,  when  his  skull  was  broke, 


From  which  his  friends  the  fatal  weapon  took, 
While  he  lay  trembling,  and  his  gushing  blood, 
Tn  crimson  streams,  around  the  table  flow'd.  60 

But  this  provok'd  th'  unruly  rabble  worse, 
They  flung  their  darts,  and  some  in  loud  discourse, 
To  death  young  Perseus,  and  the  monarch,  doom  : 
But  Cepheus  left  before  the  guilty  room, 
With  grief  appealing  to  the  gods  above,  65 

Who  laws  of  hospitality  approve, 
Who  faith  protect,  and  succour  injur'd  right, 
That  he  was  guiltless  of  this  barb'rous  fight. 

Pallas,  her  brother  Perseus  close  attends, 
And,  with  her  ample  shield,  from  harm  defends,      70 
Raising  a  sprightly  courage  in  his  heart : 
But  Indian  Athis  took  the  weaker  part, 
Born  in  the  crystal  grottoes  of  the  sea, 
Limnate's  son,  a  fenny  nymph,  and  she 
Daughter  of  Ganges:  graceful  was  his  mien,  75 

His  person  lovely,  and  his  age  sixteen. 
His  habit  made  his  native  beauty  more ; 
A  purple  mantle,  fring'd  with  gold,  he  wore ; 
His  neck,  well  turn'd,  with  golden  chains  was  grac'd ; 
His  hair,  with  myrrh  perfum'd,  was  nicely  dress'd.  80 
Though  with  just  aim  he  could  the  jav'lin  throw, 
Yet  with  more  skill  he  drew  the  bending  bow ; 
And  now  was  drawing  it  with  artful  hand, 
When  Perseus  snatching  up  a  flaming  brand, 
WhirPd  sudden  at  his  face  the  burning  wood,  85 

Crush'd  his  eyes  in,  and  quench'd  the  fire  with  blood ; 
Through  the  soft  skin  the  splinter'd  bones  appear, 
And  spoil'd  the  face  that  lately  was  so  fair. 

When  Lycabas  his  Athis  thus  beheld, 
How  was  his  heart  with  friendly  horror  fill'd !  90 

A  youth  so  noble,  to  his  soul  so  dear, 
To  see  his  shapeless  looks,  his  dying  groans  to  hear : 
He  snatch'd  the  bow  the  boy  was  us'd  to  bend, 
And  cry'd:  With  me,  false  traitor,  dare  contend: 
Boast  not  a  conquest  o'er  a  child,  but  try  95 

Thy  strength  with  me,  who  all  thy  pow'rs  defy; 
Nor  think  so  mean  an  act  a  victory. 

While  yet  he  spoke,  he  flung  the  whizzing  dart, 
Which  pierc'd  the  plaited  robe,  but  miss'd  his  heart 

BOOK  V.  109 

Perseus,  defy'd,  uponrhim  fiercely  press'd,  100 

With  sword  unsheath'd,  and  plung'd  it  in  his  breast; 

His  eyes  o'erwhelm'd  with  night,  he  stumbling  falls, 

And  with  his  latest  breath  on  Athis  calls  ; 

Pleas'd  that  so  near  the  lovely  youth  he  lies, 

He  sinks  his  head  upon  his  friend,  and  dies.  105 

Next,  eager  Phorbas,  old  Methion's  son, 
Came  rushing  forward  with  Amphimedon ; 
When  the  smooth  pavement,  slippery  made  with  gore, 
Tripp'd  up  their  feet,  and  flung  them  on  the  floor ; 
The  sword  of  Perseus,  who  by  chance  was  nigh,    110 
Prevents  their  rise,  and  where  they  fall,  they  lie : 
Full  in  bis  ribs  Amphimedon  he  smote, 
And  then  stuck  fiery  Phorbas  in  the  throat. 
Eurythus  lifting  up  his  axe,  the  blow 
Was  thus  prevented  by  his  nimble  foe;  115 

A  golden  cup  he  seizes,  high  embost, 
And  at  his  head  the  massy  goblet  toss'd : 
It  hits,  and  from  his  forehead  bruis'd  rebounds, 
And  blood  and  brains  he  vomits  from  his  wounds ; 
With  his  slain  fellows  on  the  floor  he  lies,  120 

And  death  for  ever  shuts  his  swimming  eyes. 
Then  Polydaemon  fell,  a  goddess  born ; 
Phlegias,  and  Elycen,  with  locks  unshorn, 
Next  follow' d ;  next,  the  stroke  of  death  he  gave 
To  Clytus,  Abanis,  and  Lycetus  brave;  125 

While  o'er  unnumber'd  heaps  of  ghastly  dead, 
The  Argive  hero's  feet  triumphant  tread. 

But  Phineus  stands  aloof,  and  dreads  to  feel 
His  rival's  force,  and  flies  his  pointed  steel ; 
Yet  threw  a  dart  from  far:  by  chance  it  lights        130 
On  Idas,  who  for  neither  party  fights ; 
But  wounded,  sternly  thus  to  Phineus  said: 
Since  of  a  neuter  thou  a  foe  hast  made, 
This  I  return  thee :  drawing  from  his  side 
The  dart;  which,  as  he  strove  to  fling,  he  dy'd.      135 
Odites  fell  by  Clymenus's  sword, 
The  Cephen  court  had  not  a  greater  lord. 
Hypseus  his  blade  does  in  Protenor  sheath, 
But  brave  Lyncides  soon  reveng'd  his  death. 
Here  too  was  old  Emathion,  one  that  fear'd  140 

The  gods,  and  in  the  cause  of  heav'n  appear'd ; 


Who  only  wishing  the  success  of  right, 
And,  by  his  age,  exempted  from  the  fight, 
Both  sides  alike  condemns ;  This  impious  war, 
Cease,  cease  (he  cries),  these  bloody  broils  forbear.  145 

This,  scarce  the  sage,  with  high  concern,  had  said, 
When  Chromis,  at  a  blow,  struck  off  his  head; 
Which  dropping,  on  the  royal  altar  roll'd, 
Still  staring  on  the  crowd  with  aspect  bold; 
And  still  it  seem'd  their  horrid  strife  to  blame,       150 
In  life  and  death,  his  pious  zeal  the  same  ; 
While,  clinging  to  the  horns,  the  trunk  expires, 
The  sever'd  head  consumes  amidst  the  fires. 

Then  Phineus,  who  from  far  his  jav'lin  threw, 
Broteas  and  Ammon,  twins  and  brothers,  slew  ;     155 
For  knotted  gauntlets  matchless  in  the  field ; 
But  gauntlets  must  to  swords  and  jav'lins  yield. 
Ampycus  next,  with  hallow'd  fillets  bound, 
As  Ceres'  priest,  and  with  a  mitre  crown'd, 
His  spear  transfix'd,  and  struck  him  to  the  ground. 

O,  Tapetides,  with  pain  I  tell  161 

How  you,  sweet  lyrist,  in  the  riot  fell: 
What  worse  than  brutal  rage  his  breast  could  fill, 
Who  did  thy  blood,  O  bard  celestial  spill? 
Kindly  you  press'd  amid  the  princely  throng,         165 
To  crown  the  feast,  and  give  the  nuptial  song; 
Discord  abhorr'd  the  music  of  thy  lyre, 
Whose  notes  did  gentle  peace  so  well  inspire ; 
Thee,  when  fierce  Pettalus  far  off  espy'd, 
Defenceless  with  thy  harp,  he  scoffing  cry'd:  170 

Go  ;  to  the  ghosts  thy  soothing  lessons  play ; 
We  loathe  thy  lyre,  and  scorn  thy  peaceful  lay: 
And, as  again  he  fiercely  bade  him  go, 
He  pierc'd  his  temples  with  a  mortal  blow. 
His  harp  he  held,  though  sinking  on  the  ground,    175 
Whose  strings  in  death  his  trembling  fingers  found 
By  chance,  and  tun'd  by  chance  a  dying  sound. 

With  grief  Lycormas  saw  him  fall  from  far, 
And,  wresting  from  the  door  a  massy  bar, 
Full  in  his  poll  lays  on  a  load  of  knocks,  180 

Which  stun  him,  and  he  falls  like  a  devoted  ox. 
Another  bar  Pelates  would  have  snatch'd, 

BOOK  V.  Ill 

But  Corythus  his  motions  slily  watch'd; 

He  darts  his  weapon  from  a  private  stand, 

And  rivets  to  the  post  his  veiny  hand  :  185 

When  straight  a  missive  spear  transfix'd  his  side, 

By  Abas  thrown,  and  as  he  hung  he  dy'd. 

Melaneas  on  the  prince's  side  was  slain  ; 
And  Dorylas,  who  own'd  a  fertile  plain, 
Of  Nasamonia's  fields  the  wealthy  lord,  190 

Whose  crouded  barns  could  scarce  contain  their  hoard. 
A  whizzing  spear  obliquely  gave  a  blow, 
Stuck  in  his  groin,  and  pierc'd  the  nerves  below : 
His  foe  beheld  his  eyes  convulsive  roll, 
His  ebbing  veins,  and  his  departing  soul;  195 

Then  taunting  said;  Of  all  thy  spacious  plains, 
This  spot  thy  only  property  remains. 

He  left  him  thus;  but  had  no  sooner  left, 
Than  Perseus  in  revenge  his  nostrils  cleft;  199 

From  his  friend's  breast  the  murd'ring  dart  he  drew, 
And  the  same  weapon  at  the  murd'rer  threw ; 
His  head  in  halves  the  darted  javelin  cut, 
And  on  each  side  the  brain  came  issuing  out. 

Fortune  his  friend,  his  deaths  around  he  deals, 
And  this  his  lance,  and  that  his  faulchion  feels:     205 
Now  Clytius  dies ;  and  by  a  diff' rent  wound, 
The  twin  his  brother  Clanis  bites  the  ground ; 
In  his  rent  jaw  the  bearded  weapon  sticks, 
And  the  steel'd  dart  does  Clytius'  thigh  transfix : 
With  these  Mendesian  Celadon  he  slew;  210 

And  Astreus  next,  whose  mother  was  a  Jew. 
His  sire  uncertain :  Then  by  Perseus  fell 
_/Ethion,  who  could  things  to  come  foretel ; 
But  now  he  knows  not  whence  the  javelin  flies     i 
That  wounds  his  breast,  nor  by  whose  arm  he  dies. 

The  squire  to  Phineus  next  his  valour  try'd,       216 
And  fierce  Agyrtes  stain'd  with  parricide. 

As  these  are  slain,  fresh  numbers  still  appear. 
And  wage  with  Perseus  an  unequal  war; 
To  rob  him  of  his  right,  the  maid  he  won,  220 

By  honour,  promise,  and  desert  his  own. 
With  him  the  father  of  the  beauteous  bride, 
The  mother  and  the  frighted  virgin,  side : 
With  shrieks  and  doleful  cries  they  rend  the  air ; 


Their  shrieks  confounded  with  the  din  of  war,        225 
With  clashing  arms,  and  groanings  of  the  slain, 
They  grieve  unpitied,  and  unheard  complain. 
The  floor  with  ruddy  streams  Bellona  stains, 
And  Phineus  a  new  war  with  double  rage  maintains. 
Perseus  begirt,  from  all  around  they  pour,  230 

Their  lances  on  him,  a  tempestuous  show'r, 
Aim'd  all  at  him  :  a  cloud  of  darts  and  spears, 
Or  blind  his  eyes,  or  whistle  round  his  ears. 
Their  numbers  to  resist,  against  the  wall 
He  guards  his  back  secure,  and  dares  them  all. 
Here  from  the  left  Molpeus  renews  the  fight, 
And  bold  Ethemon  presses  on  the  right : 
As  when  a  hungry  tiger  near  him  hears 
Two  lowing  herds,  awhile  he  both  forbears ; 
Nor  can  his  hopes  of  this  or  that  renounce,  240 

So  strong  he  lusts  to  prey  on  both  at  once : 
Thus  Perseus  now  with  that  or  this,  is  loath 
To  war  distinct,  but  fain  would  fall  on  both. 
And  first  Chaonian  Molpeus  felt  his  blow, 
And  fled,  and  never  after  fac'd  his  foe ;  245 

Then  fierce  Ethemon,  as  he  turn'd  his  back, 
Hurried  with  fury,  aiming  at  his  neck; 
His  brandish'd  sword  against  the  marble  struck, 
With  all  his  might;  the  brittle  weapon  broke, 
And  in  his  throat  the  point  rebounding,  stuck.       250 
Too  slight  the  wound  for  life  to  issue  thence, 
And  yet  too  great  for  battle  or  defence ; 
His  arms  extended  in  this  piteous  state, 
For  mercy  he  would  sue,  but  sues  too  late ; 
Perseus  has  in  his  bosom  plung'd  the  sword,  255 

And,  ere  he  speaks,  the  wound  prevents  the  word. 

The  crowds  increasing  and  his  friends  distrest, 
Himself  by  warring  multitudes  opprest; 
Since  thus  unequally  you  fight,  'tis  time 
(He  cry'd)  to  punish  your  presumptuous  crime ;      260 
Beware,  my  friends : — His  friends  were  soon  prepar'd, 
Their  sight  averting,  high  the  head  he  rear'd, 
And  Gorgon  on  his  foes  severely  star'd. 

Vain  shift!  says  Thescelus,  with  aspect  bold, 
Thee,  and  thy  bugbear  monster  1  behold  265 

With  scorn : — He  lifts  his  arm,  but  ere  he  threw 

BOOK  V.  113 

The  dart,  the  hero  to  a  statue  grew. 

In  the  same  posture  still  the  marble  stands, 

And  holds  the  warrior's  weapons  in  its  hands. 

Aphyx,  whom  yet  this  wonder  can't  alarm,         270 
Heaves  at  Lyncides'  breast  his  impious  arm  : 
But,  while  thus  daringly  he  presses  on, 
His  weapon  and  his  arm  are  turn'd  to  stone. 

Next  Nileus ;  he  who  vainly  said  he  ow'd 
His  origin  to  Nile's  prolific  flood;  275 

Who  on  his  shield  seven  silver  rivers  bore, 
His  birth  to  witness  by  the  arms  he  wore ; 
Full  of  his  seven-fold  father,  thus  express'd 
His  boast  to  Perseus,  and  his  pride  confess'd  : 
See  whence  we  sprung;   Let  this  thy  comfort  be    280 
In  thy  sure  death,  that  thou  didst  die  by  me. — 
While  yet  he  spoke,  the  dying  accents  hung 
In  sounds  imperfect  on  his  marble  tongue ; 
Though  chang'd  to  stone,  his  lips  he  seem'd  to  stretch, 
And  thro'  th'  insensate  rock  would  force  a  speech.  285 

This,  Eryx  saw;  but  seeing,  would  not  own ; — 
The  mischief  by  yourselves  (he  cries)  is  done ; 
'Tis  your  cold  courage  turns  your  hearts  to  stone ; 
Come,  follow  me ;  fall  on  the  stripling  boy, 
Kill  him,  and  you  his  magic  arms  destroy.  290 

Then  rushing  on,  his  arm  to  strike  he  rear'd, 
And  marbled  o'er  his  varied  frame  appear'd. 

These  for  affronting  Pallas  were  chastis'd, 
And  justly  met  the  death  they  had  despis'd: 
But  brave  Aconteus,  Perseus'  friend,  by  chance      295 
Look'd  back,  and  met  the  Gorgon's  fatal  glance : 
A  statue  now  become,  he  ghastly  stares, 
And  still  the  foe  to  mortal  combat  dares. 
Astyages  the  living  likeness  knew, 
On  the  dead  stone  with  vengeful  fury  flew ;  300 

But  impotent  his  rage,  the  jarring  blade 
No  print  upon  the  solid  marble  made  : 
Again,  as  with  redoubled  might  he  struck, 
Himself  astonish'd  in  the  quarry  stuck. 

The  vulgar  deaths  'twere  tedious  to  rehearse,      305 
And  fates  below  the  dignity  of  verse ; 
Their  safety  in  their  flight  two  hundred  found, 
Two  hundred  by  Medusa's  head  were  ston'd. 


Fierce  Phineus  now  repents  the  wrongful  fight, 
And  views  his  varied  friends,  a  dreadful  sight ;      310 
He  knows  their  faces ;  for  their  help  he  sues, 
And  thinks,  not  hearing  him,  that  they  refuse  : 
By  name  he  begs  their  succour,  one  by  one, 
Then  doubts  their  life,  and  feels  the  friendly  stone. 
Struck  with  remorse,  and  conscious  of  his  pride,    315 
Convict  of  sin,  he  turn'd  his  eyes  aside ; 
With  suppliant  mien  to  Perseus  thus  he  prays : 
Hence  with  the  head,  as  far  as  winds  and  seas 
Can  bear  thee:  Hence;  O  quit  the  Cephen  shore, 
And  never  curse  us  with  Medusa  more;  320 

That  horrid  head,  which  stiffens  into  stone 
Those  impious  men  who,  daring  death,  look  on. 
I  warr'd  not  with  thee  out  of  hate  or  strife, 
My  honest  cause  was  to  defend  my. wife, 
First  pledg'd  to  me  :  what  crime  could  I  suppose,  325 
To  arm  my  friends,  and  vindicate  my  spouse  ? 
But  vain,  too  late,  I  see  was  our  design ; 
Mine  was  the  title,  but  the  merit  thine. 
Contending  made  me  guilty,  I  confess, 
But  penitence  should  make  that  guilt  the  less  :       330 
'Twas  thine  to  conquer  by  Minerva's  pow'r ; 
Favour'd  of  Heav'n,  thy  mercy  I  implore  ; 
For  life  I  sue ;  the  rest  to  thee  I  yield  : 
In  pity,  from  my  sight  remove  the  shield. 

He  suing  said ;  nor  durst  revert  his  eyes  335 

On  the  grim  head  :  And  Perseus  thus  replies : 
Coward,  what  is  in  me  to  grant  I  will, 
Nor  blood,  unworthy  of  my  valour  spill : 
Fear  not  to  perish  by  my  vengeful  sword, 
For  that  secure  ;  'tis  all  the  fates  afford.  340 

Where  I  now  see  thee,  thou  shalt  still  be  seen, 
A  lasting  monument  to  please  our  queen  ; 
There  still  shall  thy  betroth'd  behold  her  spouse, 
And  find  his  image  in  her  father's  house. 

This  said;  where  Phineus  turn'd  to  shun  the  shield, 
Full  in  his  face  the  staring  head  he  held;  346 

As  here  and  there  he  strove  to  turn  aside, 
The  wonder  wrought,  the  man  was  petrify'd : 
All  marble  was  his  frame,  his  humid  eyes 
Dropp'd  tears  which  hung  upon  the  stone  like  ice : 

BOOK  V.  115 

In  auppliant  posture,  with  uplifted  hands,  35 1 

And  fearful  look,  the  guilty  statue  atands. 

Hence  Perseus  to  his  native  city  hies, 
Victorious,  and  rewarded  with  his  prize. 
Conquest,  o'er  Prsetus  the  usurper,  won,  355 

He  reinstates  his  grandsire  in  the  throne. 
Praetus,  his  brother,  dispossess'd  by  might, 
His  realm  enjoy'd,  and  still  detain'd  his  right : 
But  Perseus  pull'd  the  haughty  tyrant  down, 
And  to  the  rightful  king  restor'd  the  throne.  360 

Weak  was  th'  usurper,  as  his  cause  was  wrong; 
Where  Gorgon's  head  appears,  what  arms  are  strong  ? 
When  Perseus  to  his  host  the  monster  held, 
They  soon  were  statues,  and  their  king  expell'd. 

Thence  to  Seriphus  with  the  head  he  sails,  365 

Whose  prince  his  story  treats  as  idle  tales  : 
Lord  of  a  little  isle,  he  scorns  to  seem 
Too  credulous,  but  laughs  at  that,  and  him. 
Yet  did  he  not  so  much  suspect  the  truth, 
As  out  of  pride  or  envy  hate  the  youth.  370 

The  Argive  prince,  at  his  contempt  enrag'd, 
To  force  his  faith  by  fatal  proof  engag'd: 
Friends,  shut  your  eyes  (he  cries); — his   shield  he 
And  to  the.  king  expos'd  Medusa's  snakes.  [takes, 

The  monarch  felt  the  pow'r  he  would  not  own,       375 
And  stood  convict  of  folly  in  the  stone. 

Thus  far  Minerva  was  content  to  rove 
With  Perseus,  offspring  of  her  father  Jove  : 
Now  hid  in  clouds,  Seriphus  she  forsook ; 
And  to  the  Theban  tow'rs  her  journey  took.  380 

Cythos  and  Gyaros  lying  to  the  right, 
She  pass'd  unheeded  in  her  eager  flight ; 
And  choosing  first  on  Helicon  to  rest, 
The  virgin  muses  in  these  words  address'd : 

Me,  the  strange  tidings  of  a  new-found  spring,    385 
Ye  learned  Sisters,  to  this  mountain  bring, 
If  all  be  true  that  fame's  wide  rumours  tell, 
'Twas  Pegasus  discover'd  first  your  well ; 
Whose  piercing  hoof  gave  the  soft  earth  a  blow, 
Which  broke  the  surface,  where  the  waters  flow.   390 
I  saw  that  horse  by  miracle  obtain 


Life,  from  the  blood  of  dire  Medusa  slain, 
And  now,  this  equal  prodigy  to  view, 
From  distant  isles  to  fam'd  Bosotia  flew. 

The  muse  Urania  said ;  Whatever  cause  395 

So  great  a  goddess  to  this  mansion  draws ; 
Our  shades  are  happy  with  so  bright  a  guest ; 
You,  queen,  are  welcome,  and  we  Muses  blest. 
What  fame  has  publish'd  of  our  spring,  is  true  ; 
Thanks  for  our  spring  to  Pegasus  are  due.  400 

Then  with  becoming  courtesy,  she  led 
The  curious  stranger  to  their  fountain's  head : 
Who  long  survey'd,  with  wonder  and  delight, 
Their  sacred  water,  charming  t©  the  sight ; 
Their  ancient  groves,  dark  grotto,  shady  bow'rs,    405 
And  smiling  plains  adorn'd  with  various  flow'rs. 

O  happy  Muses !  she  with  rapture  cry'd, 
Who,  safe  from  cares,  on  this  fair  hill  reside ; 
Blest  in  your  seat,  and  free  yourselves  to  please 
With  joys  of  study,  and  with  glorious  ease !  410 

Then  one  replies :  O  goddess,  fit  to  guide 
Our  humble  works,  and  in  our  choir  preside; 
Who  sure  would  wisely  to  these  fields  repair, 
To  taste  our  pleasures,  and  our  labours  share, 
Were  not  your  virtue,  and  superior  mind  415 

To  higher  arts,  and  nobler  deeds  inclin'd : 
Justly  you  praise  our  works,  and  pleasing  seat, 
Which  all  might  envy  in  this  soft  retreat, 
Were  we  secur'd  from  dangers  and  from  harms ; 
But  maids  are  frighten'd  with  the  least  alarms,      420 
And  none  are  safe  in  this  licentious  time; 
Still  fierce  Pyreneus,  and  his  daring  crime 
With  lashing  horror  strikes  my  feeble  sight, 
Nor  is  my  mind  recover'd  from  the  fright. 

With  Thracian  arms  this  bold  usurper  gain'd       4*25 
Daulis,  and  Phocis,  where  he  proudly  reign'd: 
It  happen'd  once,  as  through  his  lands  we  went, 
For  the  bright  temple  of  Parnassus  bent, 
He  met  us  there,  and  in  his  artful  mind 
Hiding  the  faithless  action  he  design'd,  430 

Conferr'd  on  us  (whom,  oh !  too  well  he  knew) 
All  honours  that  to  goddesses  are  due. 

BOOK  V.  117 

Stop,  stop,  ye  Muses,  'tis  your  friend  who  calls 
(The  tyrant  said) ;  behold  the  rain  that  falls 
On  ev'ry  side,  and  that  ill-boding  sky,  435 

Whose  low'ring  face  portends  more  storms  are  nigh. 
Pray  make  my  house  your  own,  and  void  of  fear, 
While  this  bad  weather  lasts,  take  shelter  here : 
Gods  have  made  meaner  places  their  resort, 
And,  for  a  cottage,  left  their  shining  court.  440 

Oblig'd  to  stop,  by  the  united  force 
Of  pouring  rains,  and  complaisant  discourse, 
His  courteous  invitation  we  obey, 
And  in  his  hall  resolve  awhile  to  stay. 

Soon  it  clear'd  up ;  the  clouds  began  to  fly,  445 

The  driving  north  refin'd  the  show'ry  sky ; 
Then  to  pursue  our  journey  we  began; 
But  the  false  traitor  to  his  portal  ran, 
Stopp'd  our  escape,  the  door  securely  barr'd, 
And  to  our  honour  violence  prepar'd.  450 

But  we,  transform'd  to  birds,  avoid  his  snare, 
On  pinions  rising  in  the  yielding  air. 

But  he,  by  lust  and  indignation  fir'd, 
Up  to  his  highest  tow'r  with  speed  retir'd, 
And  cries,  In  Tain  you  from  my  arms  withdrew ;     455 
The  way  you  go,  your  lover  will  pursue. 
Then  in  a  flying  posture  wildly  plac'd, 
And  daring  from  that  height  himself  to  cast, 
The  wretch  fell  headlong,  and  the  ground  bestrew'd 
With  broken  bones,  and  stains  of  guilty  blood.        460 

The  Muse  yet  spoke ;  when  they  began  to  hear 
A  noise  of  wings  that  flutter'd  in  the  air ; 
And  straight  a  voice,  from  some  high  spreading  bough, 
Seem'd  to  salute  the  company  below. 
The  goddess  wonder'd,  and  inquired  whence  465 

That  tongue  was  heard,  that  spoke  so  plainly  sense 
(It  seem'd  to  her  a  human  voice  to  be, 
But  prov'd  a  bird's ;  for  in  a  shady  tree 
Nine  magpies  perch'd,  lament  their  alter'd  state, 
And  what  they  hear  are  skilful  to  repeat).  470 

The  sister  to  the  wond'ring  goddess  said : 
These,  foil'd  by  us,  by  us  were  thus  repaid. 


These  did  Evippe  of  Paeonia  bring 

With  nine  hard  labour-pangs  to  Pella's  king. 

The  foolish  virgins,  of  their  number  proud,  475 

And  puff'd  with  praises  of  the  senseless  crowd, 

Through  all  Achaia,  and  th'  iEinonian  plains, 

Defy'd  us  thus,  to  match  their  artless  strains : 

No  more,  ye  Thespian  girls,  your  notes  repeat, 

Nor  with  false  harmony  the  vulgar  cheat :  480 

In  voice  or  skill,  if  you  with  us  will  vie, 

As  many  we,  in  voice  or  skill  will  try. 

Surrender  you  to  us,  if  we  excel, 

Fam'd  Aganippe,  and  Medusa's  well. 

The  conquest  yours,  your  prize  from  us  shall  be      485 

Th'  iEmathian  plains  to  snowy  Pasone ; 

The  Nymphs  our  judges. — To  dispute  the  field, 

We  thought  a  shame  ;  but  greater  shame  to  yield. 

On  seats  of  living  stone  the  sisters  sit, 

And  by  the  rivers  swear  to  judge  aright.  490 

Then  rises  one  of  the  presumptuous  throng, 
Steps  rudely  forth,  and  first  begins  the  song: 
With  vain  address  describes  the  giants'  wars, 
And  to  the  gods  their  fabled  acts  prefers. 
She  sings,  from  earth's  dark  womb  how  Typhon  rose, 
And  struck  with  mortal  fear  his  heav'nly  foes.        406 
How  the  gods  fled  to  Egypt's  slimy  soil, 
And  hid  their  heads  beneath  the  banks  of  Nile ; 
How  Typhon,  from  the  conquer'd  skies,  pursu'd 
Their  routed  godheads  to  the  sev'n-mouth'd  flood :  500 
Forc'd  ev'ry  god,  his  fury  to  escape, 
Some  beastly  form  to  take,  or  earthly  shape. 
Jove  (so  she  sung)  was  chang'd  into  a  ram, 
From  whence  the  horns  of  Libyan  Ammon  came. 
Bacchus  a  goat,  Apollo  was  a  crow;  505 

Phoebe  a  cat ;  the  wife  of  Jove  a  cow, 
Whose  hue  was  whiter  than  the  falling  snow. 
Mercury  to  a  nasty  Ibis  turn'd. 
The  change  obscene,  afraid  of  Typhon,  mourn'd; 
While  Venus  from  a  fish  protection  craves,  510 

And  once  more  plunges  in  her  native  waves. 

She  sang,  and  to  her  harp  her  voice  apply'd  ; 
Then  us  again  to  match  her  they  defy'd : 

BOOK  V.  119 

But  oar  poor  song,  perhaps  for  you  to  hear, 
Nor  leisure  serves,  nor  is  it  worth  your  ear.  515 

That  causeless  doubt  remove,  O  Muse,  rehearse 
(The  goddess  cry'd)  your  ever-grateful  verse. 
Beneath  a  chequer'd  shade  she  takes  her  seat, 
And  bids  the  sister  her  whole  song  repeat. 

The  sister  thus;  Calliope  we  chose  520 

For  the  performance. — The  sweet  virgin  rose 
With  ivy  crown'd,  she  tunes  her  golden  strings, 
And  to  her  harp  this  composition  sings. 

First  Ceres  taught  the  lab'ring  hind  to  plow 
The  pregnant  earth,  and  quick'ning  seed  to  sow.     525 
She  first  for  man  did  wholesome  food  provide, 
And  with  just  laws  the  wicked  world  supply'd : 
All  good  from  her  deriv'd,  to  her  belong 
The  grateful  tributes  of  the  Muse's  song. 
Her  more  than  worthy  of  our  verse  we  deem,         530 
Oh  !  were  our  verse  more  worthy  of  the  theme. 

Jove  on  the  giant,  fair  Trinacria  hurl'd, 
And  with  one  bolt  reveng'd  his  starry  world. 
Beneath  her  burning  hills  Tiphaeus  lies, 
And,  struggling  always,  strives  in  vain  to  rise.        535 
Down  does  Pelorus  his  right  hand  suppress 
Tow'rd  Latium,  on  the  left  Pachyne  weighs; 
His  legs  are  under  Lilybseum  spread, 
And  iEtna  presses  hard  his  horrid  head. 
On  his  broad  back  he  there  extended  lies,  540 

And  vomits  clouds  of  ashes  to  the  skies. 
Oft  lab'ring  with  his  load,  at  last  he  tires, 
And  spews  out  in  revenge  a  flood  of  fires. 
Mountains  he  struggles  to  o'erwhelm  and  towns ; 
Earth's  inmost  bowels  quake,  and  Nature  groans.  545 
His  terrors  reach  the  direful  king  of  hell ; 
He  fears  his  throes  will  to  the  day  reveal 
The  realms  of  night,  and  fright  his  trembling  ghosts. 

This  to  prevent,  he  quits  the  Stygian  coasts, 
In  his  black  car,  by  sooty  horses  drawn,  550 

Fair  Sicily  he  seeks,  and  dreads  the  dawn. 
Around  her  plains  he  cast  his  eager  eyes, 
And  ev'ry  mountain  to  the  bottom  tries : 
But  when,  in  all  the  careful  search  he  saw 


No  cause  of  fear,  no  ill-suspected  flaw ;  555 

Secure  from  harm,  and  wand'ring  on  at  will, 

Venus  beheld  him  from  her  flow'ry  hill : 

When  straight  the  dame  her  little  Cupid  press'd 

With  secret  rapture  to  her  snowy  breast, 

And  in  these  words  the  fluttering  boy  address'd :    560 

O  thou,  my  arms,  my  glory,  and  my  pow'r, 
My  son,  whom  men,  and  deathless  gods  adore; 
Bend  thy  sure  bow,  whose  arrows  never  miss'd, 
No  longer  let  hell's  king  thy  sway  resist: 
Take  him ,  while  straggling  from  his  dark  abodes ;    565 
He  coasts  the  kingdom  of  superior  gods. 
If  sov'reign  Jove,  if  gods  who  rule  the  waves, 
And  Neptune  who  rules  them  have  been  thy  slaves ; 
Shall  hell  be  free  1  The  tyrant  strike,  my  son, 
Enlarge  thy  mother's  empire,  and  thy  own.  570 

Let  not  our  heav'n  be  made  the  mock  of  hell, 
But  Pluto  to  confess  thy  pow'r  compel, 
Our  rule  is  slighted  in  our  native  skies, 
See  Pallas,  see  Diana  too  defies 
Thy  darts,  which  Ceres'  daughter  would  despise.    575 
She  too  our  empire  treats  with  awkward  scorn  ; 
Such  insolence  no  longer's  to  be  borne. 
Revenge  our  slighted  reign,  and  with  thy  dart 
Transfix  the  virgin's  to  the  uncle's  heart. 

She  said  :  and  from  his  quiver  straight  he  drew  580 
A  dart  that  surely  would  the  business  do. 
She  guides  his  hand,  she  makes  her  touch  the  tes  , 
And  of  a  thousand  arrows  chose  the  best : 
No  feather  better  pois'd,  a  sharper  head 
None  had,  and  sooner  none,  and  surer  sped.  585 

He  bends  his  bow,  he  draws  it  to  his  ear, 
Through  Pluto's  heart  it  drives,  and  fixes  there. 

Near  Enna's  walls  a  spacious  lake  is  spread, 
Fam'd  for  the  sweetly-singing  swans  it  bred ; 
Pergusa  is  its  name :  And  never  more  590 

Were  heard,  or  sweeter  on  Cayster's  shore. 
Woods  crown  the  lake ;  and  Phoebus  ne'er  invades 
The  tufted  fences,  or  offends  the  shades : 
Fresh  fragrant  breezes  fan  the  verdant  bow'rs, 
And  the  moist  ground  smiles  with  enamell'd  flow'rs. 

BOOK  V.  12L 

The  cheerful  birds  their  airy  carols  sing,  596 

And  the  whole  year  is  one  eternal  spring. 

Here  while  young  Proserpine,  among  the  maids, 
Diverts  herself  in  these  delicious  shades  ; 
While  like  a  child  with  busy  speed  and  care  600 

She  gathers  lilies  here,  and  violets  there ; 
While  first  to  fill  her  little  lap  she  strives, 
Hell's  grizzly  monarch  at  the  shade  arrives ; 
Sees  her  thus  sporting  on  the  flow'ry  green, 
And  loves  the  blooming  maid,  as  soon  as  seen.        605 
His  urgent  flame  impatient  of  delay, 
Swift  as  his  thought  he  seiz'd  the  beauteous  prey, 
And  bore  her  in  his  sooty  car  away. 
The  frighted  goddess  to  her  mother  cries : 
But  all  in  vain,  for  now  far  off  she  flies ;  610 

Far  she  behind  her  leaves  her  virgin  train ;  - 
To  them  too  cries,  and  cries  to  them  in  vain. 
And,  while  with  passion  she  repeats  her  call, 
The  violets  from  her  lap,  and  lilies  fall : 
She  misses  'em,  poor  heart!  and  makes  new  moan  : 
Her  lilies,  ah !  are  lost,  her  violets  gone.  616 

O'er  hills  the  ravisher,  and  valleys  speeds, 
By  name  encouraging  his  foamy  steeds ; 
He  rattles  o'er  their  necks  the  rusty  reins, 
And  ruffles  with  the  stroke  their  shaggy  manes.     620 
O'er  lakes  he  whirls  his  flying  wheels,  and  comes 
To  the  Palici  breathing  sulph'rous  fumes. 
And  thence  to  where  the  Bacchiads  of  renown 
Between  unequal  havens  built  their  town ; 
Where  Arethusa,  round  th'  imprison'd  sea,  625 

Extends  her  crooked  coast  to  Cyane  ; 
The  nymph  who  gave  the  neighb'ring  lake  a  name, 
Of  all  Sicilian  nymphs  the  first  in  fame. 
She  from  the  waves  advanc'd  her  beauteous  head, 
The  goddess  knew,  and  thus  to  Pluto  said:  630 

Farther  thou  shalt  not  with  the  virgin  run  ; 
Ceres  unwilling,  canst  thou  be  her  son  1 
The  maid  should  be  by  sweet  persuasion  won : 
Force  suits  not  with  the  softness  of  the  fair; 
For,  if  great  things  with  small  I  may  compare,      635 
Me  Anapis  once  lov'd ;  a  milder  course 


He  took,  and  won  me  by  his  words,  not  force. 

Then,  stretching  out  her  arms,  she  stopp'd  his  way  : 
But  he,  impatient  of  the  shortest  stay, 
Throws  to  his  dreadful  steeds  the  slacken'd  rein,    640 
And  strikes  his  iron  sceptre  through  the  main  ; 
The  depths  profound  thro'  yielding  waves  he  cleaves, 
And  to  hell's  centre  a  free  passage  leaves; 
Down  sinks  his  chariot,  and  his  realms  of  night 
The  god  soon  reaches  with  a  rapid  flight.  645 

But  still  does  Cyane  the  rape  bemoan, 
And  with  the  goddess'  wrongs  laments  her  own ; 
For  the  stol'n  maid,  and  for  her  injur'd  spring, 
Time  to  her  trouble  no  relief  can  bring. 
In  her  sad  heart  a  heavy  load  she  bears,  650 

Till  the  dumb  sorrow  turns  her  all  to  tears. 
Her  mingling  waters  with  that  fountain  pass, 
Of  which  she  late  immortal  goddess  was. 
Hfer  varied  members  to  a  fluid  melt, 
A  pliant  softness  in  her  bones  is  fe]t.  655 

Her  wavy  locks  first  drop  away  in  dew, 
And  liquid,  next,  her  slender  fingers  grew. 
The  body's  change  soon  seizes  to  extreme, 
Her  legs  dissolve,  and  feet  flow  off  in  stream. 
Her  arms,  her  back,  her  shoulders,  and  her  side,    660 
Her  swelling  breasts  in  little  currents  glide. 
A  silver  liquor  only  now  remains 
Within  the  channel  of  her  purple  veins; 
Nothing  to  fill  love's  grasp :  her  husband  chaste 
Bathes  in  that  bosom  he  before  embrac'd.  665 

Thus,  while  through  all  the  earth,  and  all  the  main, 
Her  daughter  mournful  Ceres  sought  in  vain  ; 
Aurora  when  with  dewy  looks  she  rose, 
Nor  burnish 'd  vesper  found  her  in  repose. 
At  ^Etna's  flaming  mouth  two  pitchy  pines  670 

To  light  her  in  her  search  at  length  she  tines. 
Restless,  with  these,  through  frosty  night  she  goes, 
Nor  fears  the  cutting  winds,  nor  heeds  the  snows  ; 
And,  when  the  morning  star  the  day  renews, 
From  east  to  west  her  absent  child  pursues.  675 

Thirsty  at  last  by  long  fatigue  she  grows, 
But  meets  no  spring,  no  riv'let  near  her  flows. 

BOOK  V.  123 

Then  looking  round,  a  lowly  cottage  spies, 
bmoking  among  the  trees,  and  thither  hies. 

The  goddess  knocking  at  the  little  door,  680 

'Twas  open'd  by  a  woman  old  and  poor, 
Who,  when  she  begg'd  for  water,  gave  her  ale 
Brew'd  long,  but  well  preserv'd  from  being  stole. 
1  he  goddess  drank ;  a  chuffy  lad  was  by, 
Who  saw  the  liquor  with  a  grudging  eye,  685 

And  grinning  cries,  She's  greedy  more  than  dry 

Ceres  offended  at  his  foul  grimace, 
Flung,  what  she  had  not  drunk,  into  his  face 
The  sprinklings  speckle  where  they  hit  the  skin, 
And  a  long  tail  does  from  his  body  spin  ;  69Q 

His  arms  are  turn'd  to  legs,  and,  lest  his  size 
^nould  make  him  mischievous,  and  he  migbl  rise 
Against  mankind,  diminutive's  his  frame, 
Less  than  a  lizard,  but  in  shape  the  same'. 
Amaz'd  the  dame  the  wondrous  sight  beheld,  695 

And  weeps,  and  fain  would  touch  her  quondam  child 
Yet  her  approach  th«  affrighted  vermin  shuns, 
And  fast  into  the  greatest  crevice  runs. 
A  name  they  gare  him,  which  the  spots  express'd, 

™.r°Se  hke  *StarS'  and  varied  a11  his  Dreas*.       700 
What  lands,  what  seas  the  goddess  wander'd  o'er 
Were  long  to  tell,  for  there  remain'd  no  more. 
Searching  all  round,  her  fruitless  toil  she  mourns 
And,  with  regret,  to  Sicily  returns. 
At  length,  where  Cyane  now  flows,  she  came,         705 
Who  could  have  told  her,  were  she  still  the  same 
As  when  she  saw  her  daughter  sink  to  hell ; 
But  what  she  knows,  she  wants  a  tongue  to  tell, 
Yet  this  plain  signal  manifestly  gave, 
The  virgin's  girdle  floating  on  a  wave,  710 

As  late  she  dropp'd  it  from  her  slender  waist, 
When  with  her  uncle  through  the  deep  she  pass'd. 
Geres  the  token  by  her  grief  confess'd, 
And  tore  her  golden  hair,  and  beat  her  breast. 
She  knows  not  on  what  land  her  curse  should  faU 
But,  as  ingrate,  alike  upbraids  them  all,  716 

Unworthy  of  her  gifts ;  Trinacria  most, 
Where  the  last  steps  she  found  of  what  she  lost. 
*  Stellio. 


The  plough  for  this  the  vengeful  goddess  broke, 

And  with  one  death  the  os.  and  owner  struck.        720 

In  vain  the  fallow  fields  the  peasant  tills ; 

The  seed,  corrupted  ere  'tis  sown,  she  kills. 

The  fruitful  soil,  that  once  such  harvest  bore, 

Now  mocks  the  farmer's  care,  and  teems  no  more ; 

And  the  rich  grain  which  fills  the  furrow'd  glade, 

Rots  in  the  seed,  or  shrivels  in  the  blade;  72fi 

Or  too  much  sun  burns  up,  or  too  much  rain 

Drowns,  or  black  blights  destroy  the  blasted  plain  ; 

Or  greedy  birds  the  new-sown  corn  devour, 

Or  darnel,  thistles,  and  a  crop  impure  730 

Of  knotted  grass,  along  the  acres  stand, 

And  spread  their  thriving  roots  through  all  the  land. 

Then  from  the  waves  soft  Arethusa  rears 
Her  head,  and  back  she  flings  her  dropping  hairs. 
O  mother  of  the  maid,  whom  thou  so  far  735 

Hast  sought,  of  whom  thou  canst  no  tidings  hear: 
O  thou  (she  cry'd)  who  art  to  life  a  friend, 
Cease  here  thy  search,  and  let  thy  labour  end. 
Thy  faithful  Sicily's  a  guiltless  clime, 
And  should  not  suffer  for  another's  crime ;  740 

She  neither  knew,  nor  could  prevent  the  deed : — 
Nor  think  that  for  my  country  thus  I  plead ; 
My  country's  Pisa,  I'm  an  alien  here, 
Yet  these  abodes  to  Elis  I  prefer, 
No  clime  to  me  so  sweet,  no  place  so  dear.  745 

These  springs  I,  Arethusa,  now  possess, 
And  this  my  seat,  O  gracious  goddess,  bless. 
This  island  why  I  love,  and  why  I  cross'd 
Such  spacious  seas  to  reach  Ortygia's  coast, 
To  you  I  shall  impart,  when,  void  of  care,  750 

Your  heart's  at  ease  and  you  more  fit  to  hear ; 
When  on  your  brow  no  pressing  sorrow  sits ; 
For  gay  content  alone  such  tales  admits. 
When  through  earth's  caverns  I  awhile  have  roll'd 
My  waves,  I  rise,  and  here  again  behold  755 

The  long-lost  stars;  and  as  I  late  did  glide 
Near  Styx,  Proserpina  there  I  espy'd. 
Fear  still  with  grief  might  in  her  face  be  seen ; 
She  still  her  rape  laments ;  yet,  made  a  queen, 
Beneath  those  gloomy  shades  her  sceptre  sways,    760 

BOOK  V.  125 

And  e'en  the  infernal  king  her  will  obeys. 

This  heard,  the  goddess  like  a  statue  stood, 
Stupid  with  grief:  and  in  that  musing  mood 
Continu'd  long ;  new  cares  awhile  suppress'd 
The  reigning  powers  of  her  immortal  breast.  765 

At  last  to  Jove,  her  daughter's  sire, she  flies, 
And  with  her  chariot  cuts  the  crystal  skies ; 
She  comes  in  clouds,  and  with  dishevell'd  hair, 
Standing  before  his  throne,  prefers  her  pray'r : 

King  of  the  gods,  defend  my  blood  and  thine,      770 
And  use  it  not  the  worse  for  being  mine. 
If  I  no  more  am  gracious  in  thy  sight, 
Be  just,  O  Jove,  and  do  thy  daughter  right. 
In  vain  I  sought  her  the  wide  world  around, 
And,  when  I  most  despair'd  to  find  her,  found.      775 
But  how  can  I  the  fatal  finding  boast, 
By  which  I  know  she  is  for  ever  lost? 
Without  her  father's  aid,  what  other  pow'r 
Can  to  my  arms  the  ravish'd  maid  restore? 
Let  him  restore  her ;   I'll  the  crime  forgive ;  780 

My  child,  though  ravish'd,  I'd  with  joy  receive. 
Pity,  your  daughter  with  a  thief  should  wed, 
Though  mine,  you  think,  deserves  no  better  bed. 

Jove  thus  replies :  It  equally  belongs 
To  both,  to  guard  our  common  pledge  from  wrongs : 
But  if  to  things  we  proper  names  apply,  786 

This  hardly  can  be  call'd  an  injury. 
The  theft  is  love ;  nor  need  we  blush  to  own 
The  thief,  if  I  can  judge,  to  be  our  son. 
Had  you  of  his  desert  no  other  proof,  790 

To  be  Jove's  brother  is,  methinks,  enough. 
Nor  was  my  throne  by  worth  superior  got, 
Heav'n  fell  to  me,  as  hell  to  him,  by  lot. 
If  you  are  still  resolv'd  her  loss  to  mourn, 
And  nothing  less  will  serve  than  her  return ;  795 

Upon  these  terms  she  may  again  be  yours 
(Th'  irrevocable  terms  of  fate,  not  ours) ; 
Of  Stygian  food  if  she  did  never  taste, 
Hell's  bounds  may  then,  and  only  then,  be  pass'd. 

The  goddess  now,  resolving  to  succeed,  800 

Down  to  the  gloomy  shades  descends  with  speed. 


But  adverse  fate  had  otherwise  deereed : 

For,  long  before,  her  giddy,  thoughtless  child 

Had  broke  her  fast,  and  all  her  projects  spoil'd. 

As  in  the  garden's  shady  walk  she  stray'd,  805 

A  fair  pomegranate  charcn'd  the  simple  maid; 

Hung  in  her  way,  and  tempting  her  to  taste, 

She  pluck'd  the  fruit,  and  took  a  short  repast. 

Seven  times,  a  seed  at  once,  she  eat  the  food ; 

The  fact  Ascalaphus  had  only  view'd;  810 

Whom  Acheron  begot,  in  Stygian  shades, 

On  Orphne,  fam'd  among  A  vernal  maids ; 

He  saw  what  pass'd,  and,  by  discov'ring  all, 

Detain'd  the  ravish'd  nymph  in  cruel  thrall. 

But  now  a  queen,  she  with  resentment  heard,        815 

And  chang'd  the  vile  informer  to  a  bird. 

In  Phlegeton's  black  stream  her  hand  she  dips, 

Sprinkles  his  head,  and  wets  his  babbling  lips. 

Soon  on  his  face,  bedropt  with  magic  dew, 

A  change  appear'd,  and  gaudy  feathers  grew.  820 

A  crooked  beak  the  place  of  nose  supplies, 

Rounder  his  head,  and  larger  are  his  eyes. 

His  arms  and  body  waste,  but  are  supply'd 

With  yellow  pinions  flagging  on  each  side. 

Hi3  nails  grew  crooked,  and  are  turn'd  to  claws,    8*25 

And  lazily  along  his  heavy  wings  he  draws. 

Ill-omen'd  in  his  form,  th'  unlucky  fowl, 

Abhorr'd  by  men,  and  calTd  a  screeching  owl. 

Justly  this  punishment  was  due  to  him ; 
And  less  had  been  too  little  for  his  crime :  830 

But,  O  ye  nymphs  that  from  the  flood  descend, 
What  fault  of  yours  the  gods  could  so  oftend, 
With  wings  and  claws  your  beauteous  forms  to  spoil, 
Yet  save  your  maiden  face,  and  winning  smile? 
Were  you  not  with  her  in  Pergusa's  bow'rs,  835 

When  Proserpine  went  forth  to  gather  flow'rs? 
Since  Pluto  in  his  car  the  goddess  caught, 
Have  you  not  for  her  in  each  climate  sought? 
And  when  on  land  you  long  had  search'd  in  vain, 
You  wish'd  for  wings  to  cross  the  pathless  main  ;  840 
That  earth  and  sea  might  witness  to  your  care : 
The  gods  were  easy,  and  return'd  your  pray'r; 

BOOK  V.  127 

With  golden  wings  o'er  foamy  waves  you  fled, 
And  to  the  sun  your  plumy  glories  spread. 
But,  lest  the  soft  enchantment  of  your  songs,         845 
And  the  sweet  music  of  your  flatt'ring  tongues 
Should  quite  be  lost  (as  courteous  fates  ordain), 
Your  voice  and  virgin  beauty  still  remain. 

Jove  some  amends  for  Ceres'  loss  to  make, 
Yet  willing  Pluto  should  the  joy  partake,  850 

Gives  'em  of  Proserpine  an  equal  share, 
Who,  claim'd  by  both,  with  both  divides  the  year, 
The  goddess  now  in  either  empire  sways, 
Six  moons  in  hell,  and  six  with  Ceres  stays. 
Her  peevish  temper's  chang'd;  that  sullen  mind,   855 
Which  made  ev'n  hell  uneasy,  now  is  kind. 
Her  voice  refines,  her  mien  more  sweet  appears, 
Her  forehead  free  from  frowns,  her  eyes  from  tears. 
As  when  with  golden  light,  the  conqu'ring  day 
Through  dusky  exhalations  clears  away.  860 

Ceres  her  daughter's  rape  no  longer  mourn 'd, 
But  back  to  Arethusa's  spring  return'd ; 
And  sitting  on  the  margin,  bade  her  tell 
From  whence  she  came,  and  why  a  sacred  well? 

Still  were  the  purling  waters ;  and  the  maid       865 
From  the  smooth  surface  rais'd  her  beauteous  head, 
Wipes  off  the  drops  that  from  her  tresses  ran, 
And  thus  to  tell  Alpheus'  loves  began : 

In  Elis  first  I  breath'd  the  living  air, 
The  chase  was  all  my  pleasure,  all  my  care.  870 

None  lov'd  like  me  the  forest  to  explore, 
To  pitch  the  toils,  and  drive  the  bristled  boar. 
Of  fair,  though  masculine,  I  had  the  name, 
But  gladly  would  to  that  have  quitted  claim : 
It  less  my  pride  than  indignation  rais'd,  875 

To  hear  the  beauty  I  neglected,  prais'd : 
Such  compliments  I  loath'd,  such  charms  as  these 
I  scorn'd,  and  thought  it  infamy  to  please. 

Once,  I  remember,  in  the  summer's  heat, 
Tir'd  with  the  chase,  I  sought  a  cool  retreat;  880 

And,  walking  on,  a  silent  current  found, 
Which  gently  glided  o'er  the  grav'lly  ground  ; 
The  crystal  water  was  so  smooth,  so  clear, 


My  eye  distinguish' d  ev'ry  pebble  there. 

So  soft  its  motion,  that  I  scarce  perceiv'd  885 

The  running  stream,  or  what  I  saw,  believ'd. 

The  hoary  willow,  and  the  poplar,  made 

Along  the  shelving  bank  a  grateful  shade. 

In  the  cool  rivulet  my  feet  I  dipp'd, 

Then  waded  to  the  knee,  and  then  I  strippM;         890 

My  robe  I  careless  on  an  osier  threw, 

That  near  the  place  commodiously  grew ; 

Nor  long  upon  the  border  naked  stood, 

But  plung'd  with  speed  into  the  silver  flood. 

My  arms  a  thousand  ways  I  mov'd,  and  try'd         895 

To  quicken,  if  I  could,  the  lazy  tide; 

Where,  while  I  play'd  my  swimming  gambols  o'er, 

I  heard  a  murm'ring  voice,  and  frighted  sprang  to  shore. 

O !  whither,  Arethusa,  dost  thou  fly  ? 

From  the  brook's  bottom  did  Alpheus  cry,  90« 

Again  I  heard  him,  in  a  hollow  tone, 

O !  whither  Arethusay  dost  thou  run? 

Naked  I  flew,  nor  could  I  stay  to  hide 

My  limbs ;  my  robe  was  on  the  other  side ; 

Alpheus  follow'd  fast,  th'  inflaming  sight  905 

Quicken'd  his  speed,  and  made  his  labour  light; 

He  sees  me  ready  for  his  eager  arms, 

And,  with  a  greedy  glance,  devours  my  charms. 

As  trembling  doves  from  pressing  danger  fly,  909 

When  the  fierce  hawk  comes  sousing  from  the  sky  ; 

And,  as  fierce  hawks  the  trembling  doves  pursue, 

From  him  I  fled,  and  after  me  he  flew. 

First  by  Orchomenus  I  took  my  flight, 

And  soon  had  Psophis  and  Cyllene  in  sight; 

Behind  me  then  high  Mamalus  I  lost,  915 

And  craggy  Erimanthus  scal'd  with  frost ; 

Elis  was  next ;  thus  far  the  ground  I  trod 

With  nimble  feet,  before  the  distanc'd  god. 

But  here  I  lagg'd  unable  to  sustain 

The  labour  longer,  and  my  flight  maintain;  920 

While  he  more  strong,  more  patient  of  the  toil, 

And  fir'd  with  hopes  of  beauty's  speedy  spoil, 

Gain'd  my  lost  ground,  and  by  redoubled  pace, 

Now  left  between  us  but  a  narrow  space. 

Unwearied  I,  till  now,  o'er  hills  and  plains,  92* 

BOOK  V.  '       129 

O'er  rocks,  and  rivers  ran,  and  felt  no  pains 

The  sun  behind  me,  and  the  god  I  kept; 

But,  when  I  fastest  should  have  run,  I  stept. 

Before  my  feet  his  shadow  now  appear'd ; 

As  what  I  saw,  or  rather  what  I  fear'd.  930 

Yet  there  I  could  not  be  deceiv'd  by  fear, 

Who  felt  his  breath  pant  on  my  braided  hair, 

And  heard  his  sounding  tread,  and  knew  him  to  be 

Tir'd  and  despairing,  O  celestial  maid, 
I'm  caught  (I  cry'd),  without  thy  heav'nly  aid.       935 
Help  me,  Diana,  help  a  nymph  forlorn, 
Devoted  to  the  woods,  who  long  has  worn 
Thy  livery,  and  long  thy  quiver  borne. 

The  goddess  heard;  my  pious  pray'r  prevail'd; 
In  muffling  clouds  my  virgin  head  was  veil'd.         940 
The  am'rous  god,  deluded  of  his  hopes, 
Searches  the  gloom,  and  through  the  darkness  gropes ; 
Twice,  where  Diana  did  her  servant  hide, 
He  came,  and  twice,  O  Arethusa !  cry'd. 
How  shaken  was  my  soul,  how  sunk  my  heart !      945 
The  terror  seiz'd  on  ev'ry  trembling  part. 
Thus  when  the  wolf  about  the  mountain  prowls 
For  prey,  the  lambkin  hears  his  horrid  howls ; 
The  tim'rous  hare,  the  pack  approaching  nigh, 
Thus  hearkens  to  the  hounds,  and  trembles  at  the  cry ; 
Nor  dares  she  stir,  for  fear  her  scented  breath        951 
Direct  the  dogs,  and  guide  the  threaten'd  death. 
Alpheus  in  the  cloud  no  traces  found 
To  mark  my  way,  yet  stays  to  guard  the  ground. 
The  god  so  near,  a  chilly  sweat  possess'd  955 

My  fainting  limbs  at  ev'ry  pore  exprest ; 
My  strength  distill'd  in  drops,  my  hair  in  dew, 
My  form  was  chang'd,  and  all  my  substance  new. 
Each  motion  was  a  stream,  and  my  whole  frame 
Turn'd  to  a  fount,  which  still  preserves  my  name  960 
Resolv'd  I  should  not  his  embrace  escape, 

Again  the  god  resumes  his  fluid  shape ; 

To  mix  his  streams  with  mine  he  fondly  tries, 

But  still  Diana  his  attempt  denies ; 

She  cleaves  the  ground;  through  caverns  dark  I  run 

A  diff'rent  current,  while  he  keeps  his  own,  96c 



To  dear  Ortygia  she  conducts  my  way, 
And  here  I  first  review  the  welcome  day. 

Here  Arethusa  stopp'd ;  then  Ceres  takes 
Her  golden  car,  and  yokes  her  fiery  snakes ;  970 

With  a  just  rein,  along  mid-heav'n  she  flies 
O'er  earth,  and  seas,  and  cuts  the  yielding  skies. 
She  halts  at  Athens,  dropping  like  a  star, 
And  to  Triptolemus  resigns  her  car. 
Parent  of  seed,  she  gave  him  fruitful  grain,  975 

And  bade  him  teach,  to  till  and  plough  the  plain ; 
The  seed  to  sow,  as  well  in  fallow  fields, 
As  where  the  soil  manur'd,  a  richer  harvest  yields. 

The  youth  o'er  Europe,  and  o'er  Asia  drives, 
Till  at  the  court  of  Lyncus  he  arrives.  980 

The  tyrant,  Scythia's  barb'rous  empire  sway'd; 
And,  when  he  saw  Triptolemus,  he  said : 
How  cam'st  thou,  stranger,  to  our  court,  and  why  1 
Thy  country,  and  thy  name?  the  youth  did  thus 
reply : — 

Triptolemus  my  name ;  my  country's  known       985 
O'er  all  the  world,  Minerva's  fav'rite  town; 
Athens,  the  first  of  cities  in  renown. 
By  land  I  neither  walk'd,  nor  sail'd  by  sea, 
But  hither  through  the  aether  made  my  way. 
By  me,  the  goddess  who  the  fields  befriends,  990 

These  gifts,  the  greatest  of  all  blessings,  sends. 
The  grain  she  gives,  if  in  your  soil  you  sow, 
Thence  wholesome  food  in  golden  crops  shall  grow. 

Soon  as  the  secret  to  the  king  was  known, 
He  grudg'd  the  glory  of  the  service  done,  995 

And  wickedly  resolv'd  to  make  it  all  his  own. 
To  hide  his  purpose,  he  invites  his  guest, 
The  friend  of  Ceres,  to  a  royal  feast : 
And  when  sweet  sleep  his  heavy  eyes  had  seiz'd, 
The  tyrant  with  his  steel  attempts  his  breast.        1000 
Him  straight  a  lynx's  shape  the  goddess  gives, 
And  home  the  youth  her  sacred  dragons  drives. 

The  chosen  Muse  here  ends  her  sacred  lays : 
The  nymphs  unanimous  decree  the  bays, 
And  give  the  Heliconian  goddesses  the  praise.      1005 

BOOK  VI.  131 

Then,  far  from  vain  that  we  should  thus  prevail, 

But  much  provok'd  to  hear  the  vanquish'd  rail, 

Calliope  resumes :  Too  long  we've  borne 

Your  daring  taunts,  and  your  affronting  scorn  ; 

Your  challenge  justly  merited  a  curse,  1010 

And  this  unmanner'd  railing  makes  it  worse. 

Since  you  refuse  us  calmly  to  enjoy 

Our  patience,  next  our  passions  we'll  employ : 

The  dictates  of  a  mind  enrag'd  pursue, 

And,  what  our  just  resentment  bids  us,  do.  1015 

The  railers  laugh,  our  threats  and  wrath  despise, 
And  clap  their  hands,  and  make  a  scolding  noise : 
But  in  the  fact  they're  seiz'd ;  beneath  their  nails 
Feathers  they  feel,  and  on  their  faces  scales ; 
Their  horny  beaks  at  once  each  other  scare,  1020 

Their  arms  are  plum'd,  and  on  their  backs  they  bear 
Pied  wings,  and  flutter  in  the  fleeting  air. 
Chatt'ring,  the  scandal  of  the  woods  they  fly, 
And  there  continue  still  their  clam'rous  cry : 
The  same  their  eloquence,  as  maids,  or  birds,        1025 
Now  only  noise,  and  nothing  then  but  words. 



The  transformation  of  Arachne  into  a  spider.  The  story  o  f 
Niobe.  The  transformation  of  Niobe.  The  peasants  of  Lycia 
transformed  to  frogs.  The  fate  of  Marsyas.  The  story  of 
Pelops.  The  story  of  Tereus,  Procne,  and  Philomela.  Boreas 
in  love. 

Pallas,  attending  to  the  Muses'  song, 

Approv'd.  the  just  resentment  of  their  wrong ; 

And  thus  reflects :  While  tamely  I  commend 

Those  who  their  injur'd  deities  defend, 

My  own  divinity  affronted  stands,  5 

And  calls  aloud  for  justice  at  my  hands : 

Then  takes  the  hint,  asham'd  to  lag  behind, 

And  on  Arachne  bends  her  vengeful  mind ; 

One  at  the  loom  so  excellently  skill'd, 

That  to  the  goddess  she  refus'd  to  yield.  10 


Low  was  her  birth,  and  small  her  native  town  ; 
She  from  her  art  alone  obtain'd  renown. 
Idmon,  her  father,  made  it  his  employ, 
To  give  the  spongy  fleece  a  purple  dye. 
Of  vulgar  strain  her  mother,  lately  dead,  15 

With  her  own  rank  had  been  content  to  wed ; 
Yet  she  their  daughter,  though  her  time  was  spent 
In  a  small  hamlet,  and  of  mean  descent, 
Through  the  great  towns  of  Lydia  gain'd  a  name, 
And  fill'd  the  neighb'ring  countries  with  her  fame. 

Oft,  to  admire  the  niceness  of  her  skill,  21 

The  nymphs  would  quit  their  fountain,  shade,  or  hill; 
Thither,  from  green  Tymolus,  they  repair, 
And  leave  the  vineyards,  their  peculiar  care; 
Thither,  from  fam'd  Pactolus'  golden  stream,  25 

Drawn  by  her  art,  the  curious  Naiads  came. 
Nor  would  the  work,  when  finishM,  please  so  much, 
As,  while  she  wrought,  to  view  each  graceful  touch  ; 
Whether  the  shapeless  wool  in  balls  she  wound, 
Or  with  quick  motion  turn'd  the  spindle  round,        3ft 
Or  with  her  pencil  drew  the  neat  design, 
Pallas  her  mistress  shone  in  every  line. 
This,  the  proud  maid  with  scornful  air  denies, 
And  e'en  the  goddess  at  her  work  defies ; 
Disowns  her  heav'nly  mistress  ev'ry  hour,  35 

Nor  asks  her  aid,  nor  deprecates  her  pow'r:— 
Let  us  (she  cries)  but  to  a  trial  come, 
And,  if  she  conquers,  let  her  fix  my  doom. 

The  goddess  then  a  beldame's  form  put  on, 
With  silver  hairs  her  hoary  temples  shone  ;  40 

Propp'd  by  a  staff",  she  hobbles  in  her  walk, 
And  tott'ring,  thus  begins  her  old  wife's  talk: 

Young  maid,  attend,  nor  stubbornly  despise 
The  admonitions  of  the  old  and  wise; 
For  age,  though  scorn'd,  a  ripe  experience  bears,     45 
That  golden  fruit,  unknown  to  blooming  years : 
Still  may  remotest  fame  your  labours  crown, 
And  mortals  your  superior  genius  own ; 
But  to  the  goddess  yield,  and  humbly  meek 
A  pardon  for  your  bold  presumption  seek;  58 

The  goddess  will  forgive. — At  this  the  maid, 
With  passion  flr'd,  her  gliding  shuttle  stay'd* 

BOOK  VI.  133 

And,  darting  vengeance  with  an  angry  look, 
To  Pallas  in  disguise,  thus  fiercely  spoke : 

Thou  doating  thing,  whose  idle  hahhling  tongue   55 
But  too  well  shews  the  plague  of  living  long; 
Hence,  and  reprove,  with  this  your  sage  advice, 
Your  giddy  daughter,  or  your  awkward  niece : 
Know,  I  despise  your  counsel,  and  am  still 
A  woman,  ever  wedded  to  my  will;  60 

And,  if  your  skilful  goddess  hetter  knows, 
Let  her  accept  the  trial  I  propose. 

She  does  (impatient  Pallas  straight  replies) ; 
And,  cloth'd  with  heav'nly  light,  sprang  from  her  odd 
The  nymphs  and  virgins  of  the  plain  adore   [disguise. 
The  awful  goddess,  and  confess  her  pow'r; '  66 

The  maid  alone  stood  unappall'd;  yet  shew'd 
A  transient  hlush,  that  for  a  moment  glow'd, 
Then  disappear'd ;  as  purple  streaks  adorn 
The  opening  beauties  of  the  rosy  morn ;  70 

Till  Phoebus  rising  prevalently  bright, 
Allays  the  tincture  with  his  silver  light, 
Yet  she  persists,  and,  obstinately  great, 
In  hopes  of  conquest,  hurries  on  her  fate. 

The  goddess  now  the  challenge  waves  no  more,    75 
Nor,  kindly  good,  advises  as  before. 

Straight  to  their  posts  appointed  both  repair, 
And  fix  their  threaded  looms  with  equal  care : 
Around  the  solid  beam  the  web  is  tied, 
While  hollow  canes  the  parting  warp  divide  ;  80 

Through  which,  with  nimble  flight  the  shuttles  play, 
And  for  the  woof  prepare  a  ready  way ; 
The  woof  and  warp  unite,  prest  by  the  toothy  slay. 

Thus  both,  -their  mantles  button'd  to  their  breast, 
Their  skilful  fingers  ply  with  willing  haste,  85 

And  work  with  pleasure  ;  while  they  cheer  the  eye 
With  glowing  purple  of  the  Tyrian  die ; 
Or,  justly  intermixing  shades  with  light, 
Their  colourings  insensibly  unite. 
As  when  a  show'r  transpierc'd  with  sunny  rays,     90 
Its  mighty  arch  along  the  heav'n  displays; 
From  whence  a  thousand  diff'rent  colours  rise, 
Whose  fine  transition  cheats  the  clearest  eyes; 


So  like  the  intermingled  shading  seems, 

And  only  differs  in  the  last  extremes.  95 

Then  threads  of  gold  both  artfully  dispose, 

And,  as  each  part  in  just  proportion  rose, 

Some  antique  fable  in  their  work  disclose. 

Pallas  in  figures  wrought  the  heav'nly  pow'rs, 
And  Mars's  hill  among  th'  Athenian  tow'rs.  100 

On  lofty  thrones  twice  six  celestials  sate, 
Jove  in  the  midst,  and  held  their  warm  debate ; 
The  subject  weighty,  and  well-known  to  fame, 
From  whom  the  city  should  receive  its  name. 
Each  god  by  proper  features  was  exprest,  105 

Jove  with  majestic  mien  excell'd  the  rest. 
His  three-fork' d  mace  the  dewy  sea-god  shook, 
And,  looking  sternly,  smote  the  ragged  rock ; 
When  from  the  stone  leapt  forth  a  sprightly  steed, 
And  Neptune  claims  the  city  for  the  deed.  110 

Herself  she  blazons  with  a  glitt'ring  spear, 
And  crested  helm  that  veiled  her  braided  hair, 
Withshield,  and  scaly  breast-plate,  implements  of  war. 
Struck  with  her  pointed  lance,  the  teeming  earth 
Seem'd  to  produce  a  new  surprising  birth ;  115 

When,  from  the  glebe,  the  pledge  of  conquest  sprung, 
A  tree  pale-green  with  fairest  olives  hung. 

And  then,  to  let  her  giddy  rival  learn 
What  just  rewards  such  boldness  was  to  earn, 
Four  trials  at  each  corner  had  their  part,  120 

Design'd  in  miniature,  and  touch'd  with  art. 
Haemus  in  one,  and  Rhodope  of  Thrace, 
Transform'd  to  mountains,  fill'd  the  foremost  place ; 
Who  claim'd  the  titles  of  the  gods  above, 
And  vainly  us'd  the  epithets  of  Jove  125 

Another  shew'd,  where  the  Pigmaean  dame, 
Profaning  Juno's  venerable  name, 
Turn'd  to  an  airy  crane,  descends  from  far, 
And  with  her  pigmy  subjects  wages  war. 
In  a  third  part,  the  rage  of  heaven's  great  queen,   130 
Display'd  on  proud  Antigone,  was  seen  : 
Who  with  presumptuous  boldness  dared  to  vie, 
For  beauty,  with  the  empress  of  the  sky. 
Ah !  what  avails  her  ancient  princely  race, 
Her  sire  a  king,  and  Troy  her  native  place!  135 

BOOK  VI.  135 

Now,  to  a  noisy  stork  transform'd,  she  flies, 
And  with  her  whiten'd  pinions  cleaves  the  skies. 
And  in  the  last  remaining  part  was  drawn 
Poor  Cinyras,  that  seem'd  to  weep  in  stone; 
Clasping  the  temple  steps,  he  sadly  mourn'd  140 

His  lovely  daughters  now  to  marble  turn'd. 
With  her  own  tree  the  finish'd  piece  is  crown'd, 
And  wreaths  of  peaceful  olive  all  the  work  surround . 

Arachne  drew  the  fam'd  intrigues  of  Jove, 
Chang'd  to  a  bull  to  gratify  his  love;  145 

How  through  the  briny  tide  all  foaming  hoar, 
Lovely  Europa  on  his  back  he  bore. 
The  sea  seem'd  waving,  and  the  trembling  maid 
Shrunk  up  her  tender  feet,  as  if  afraid ; 
And,  looking  back  on  the  forsaken  strand,  150 

To  her  companions  wafts  her  distand  hand. 

Next  she  design'd  Asteria's  fabled  rape, 
When  Jove  assum'd  a  soaring  eagle's  shape  : 
And  shew'd  how  Leda  lay  supinely  press'd,  154 

Whilst  the  soft   snowy  swan  sate  hov'ring  o'er  her 
How  in  a  satyr's  form  the  god  beguil'd,  [breast. 

When  fair  Antiope  with  twins  he  fill'd. 
Then,  like  Amphitryon,  but  a  real  Jove, 
In  fair  Alcmena's  arms  he  cool'd  his  love. 
In  fluid  gold  to  Danae's  heart  he  came,  160 

jEgina  felt  him  in  a  lambent  flame. 
He  took  Mnemosyne  in  shepherd's  make, 
And  for  D'eois  was  a  speckled  snake. 

She  made  thee,  Neptune,  like  a  wanton  steer, 
Pacing  the  meads  for  love  of  Arne  dear :  165 

Next  like  a  stream,  thy  burning  flame  to  slake, 
And  like  a  ram,  for  fair  Bisaltis'  sake. 
Then  Ceres  in  a  steed  your  vigour  tried, 
Nor  could  the  mare  the  yellow  goddess  hide. 
Next,  to  a  fowl  transform'd,  you  won  by  force       170 
The  snake-hair'd  mother  of  the  winged  horse  ; 
And,  in  a  dolphin's  fishy  form,  subdu'd 
Melantho  sweet  beneath  the  oozy  flood. 

All  these  the  maid  with  lively  features  drew, 
And  open'd  proper  landscapes  to  the  view.  175 

There  Phoebus  roving  like  a  country  swain, 
Attunes  his  jolly  pipe  along  the  plain ; 


For  lovely  Isse's  sake  in  shepherd's  weeds, 
O'er  pastures  green  his  bleating  flock  he  feeds. 
There  Bacchus,  imag'd  like  the  clust'ring  grape,     180 
Melting  bedrops  Erigone's  fair  lap; 
And  there  old  Saturn,  stung  with  youthful  heat, 
Form'd  like  a  stallion,  rushes  to  the  feat. 
Fresh  flow'rs,  which  twists  of  ivy  intertwine, 
Mingling  a  running  foliage,  close  the  neat  design.  195 

This  the  bright  goddess,  passionately  mov'd, 
With  envy  saw,  yet  inwardly  approv'd. 
The  scene  of  heav'nly  guilt  with  haste  she  tore, 
Nor  longer  the  affront  with  patience  bore ; 
A  boxen  shuttle  in  her  hand  she  took,  190 

And  more  than  once  Arachne's  forehead  struck. 
Th'  unhappy  maid,  impatient  of  the  wrong, 
Down  from  a  beam  her  injur'd  person  hung ; 
When  Pallas,  pitying  her  wretched  state, 
At  once  prevented,  and  pronounc'd  her  fate : —      195 
Live;  but  depend,  vile  wretch  (the  goddess  cry'd), 
Doom'd  in  suspense  for  ever  to  be  tied ; 
That  all  your  race,  to  utmost  date  of  time, 
May  feel  the  vengeance,  and  detest  the  crime. 

Then,  going  off,  she  sprinkled  her  with  juice,     200 
Which  leaves  of  baleful  aconite  produce. 
Touch'd  with  the  pois'nous  drug,  her  flowing  hair 
Fell  to  the  ground,  and  left  her  temples  bare ; 
Her  usual  features  vanish'd  from  their  place, 
Her  body  lessen'd  all,  but  most  her  face.  205 

Her  slender  fingers,  hanging  on  each  side 
With  many  joints,  the  use  of  legs  supply'd  : 
A  spider's  bag,  the  rest  from  which  she  gives 
A  thread,  and  still  by  constant  weaving  lives.         200 

Swift  through  the  Phrygian  towns  the  rumour  flies, 
And  the  strange  news  each  female  tongue  employs  : 
Niobe,  who,  before  she  married,  knew 
The  famous  nymph,  now  found  the  story  true ; 
Yet,  unreclaira'd  by  poor  Arachne's  fate, 
Vainly  above  the  gods  assum'd  a  state.  215 

Her  husband's  fame,  their  family's  descent, 
Their  pow'r,  a  rich  dominion's  wide  extent, 
Might  well  have  justified  a  decent  pride ; 

BOOK  VI.  137 

Hut  not  on  these  alone  the  dame  relied. 

Her  lovely  progeny,  that  far  excell'd,  22o 

The  mother's  heart  with  -vain  ambition  swell 'd : 

The  happiest  mother  not  unjustly  styl'd, 

Had  no  conceited  thoughts  her  tow'ring  fancy  fill'd. 

For  once  a  prophetess  with  zeal  inspir'd, 
Their  slow  neglect  to  warm  devotion  nr'd ;  225 

Through  ev'ry  street  of  Thebes  who  ran  possess'd, 
And  thus  in  accents  wild  her  charge  express'd : — 
Haste,  haste,  ye  Theban  matrons,  and  adore, 
With  hallow'd  rites,  Latona's  mighty  pow'r; 
And,  to  the  heav'nly  twins  that  from  her  spring,    230 
With  laurel  crown'd,  your  smoking  incense  bring. 

Straight  the  great  summons  ev'ry  dame  obey'd, 
And  due  submission  to  the  goddess  paid ; 
Graceful,  with  laurel  chaplets  dress'd  they  came, 
And  offer'd  incense  in  the  sacred  flame.  23. "» 

Meanwhile,  surrounded  with  a  courtly  guard, 
The  royal  Niobe  in  state  appear'd ; 
Attir'd  in  robes  embroider'd  o'er  with  gold, 
And  mad  with  rage,  yet  lovely  to  behold: 
Her  comely  tresses,  trembling  as  she  stood,  240 

Down  her  fine  neck  with  easy  motion  flow'd  ; 
Then,  darting  round  a  proud  disdainful  look, 
In  haughty  tone  her  hasty  passion  broke, 
And  thus  began :  What  madness  this,  to  court 
A  goddess  founded  merely  on  report  1  245 

Dare  ye  a  poor  pretended  pow'r  invoke, 
While  yet  no  altars  to  my  godhead  smoke  1 
Mine,  whose  immediate  lineage  stands  confest 
From  Tantalus,  the  only  mortal  guest 
That  e'er  the  gods  admitted  to  their  feast.  250' 

A  sister  of  the  Pleiads  gave  me  birth ; 
And  Atlas,  mightiest  mountain  upon  earth, 
Who  bears  the  globe  of  all  the  stars  above, 
My  grandsire  was,  and  Atlas  sprang  from  Jove. 
The  Theban  towns  my  majesty  adore,  255 

And  neighb'ring  Phrygia  trembles  at  my  pow'r: 
Rais'd  by  my  husband's  lute,  with  turrets  crown'd, 
Our  lofty  city  stands  secur'd  around. 
Within  my  court,  where'er  I  turn  my  eyes, 
Unbounded  treasures  to  my  prospect  rise ;  260 


With  these  my  face  I  modestly  may  name, 

As  not  unworthy  of  so  high  a  claim  : 

Seven  are  my  daughters,  of  a  form  divine, 

With  seven  fair  sons,  an  indefective  line. 

Go,  fools  !  consider  this  ;  and  ask  the  cause  265 

From  which  my  pride  its  strong  presumption  draws. 

Consider  this ;  and  then  prefer  to  me 

Caeus  the  Titan's  vagrant  progeny  ; 

To  whom,  in  travail,  the  whole  spacious  earth 

No  room  afforded  for  her  spurious  birth.  270 

Not  the  least  part  in  earth,  in  heav'n,  or  seas, 

Would  grant  your  outlaw'd  goddess  any  ease  : 

Till  pitying  her's,  from  his  own  wand'ring  case, 

Delos,  the  floating  island,  gave  a  place. 

There  she  a  mother  was,  of  two  at  most ;  275 

Only  the  seventh  part  of  what  I  boast. 

My  joys  all  are  beyond  suspicion  fixt : 

With  no  pollutions  of  misfortune  mixt : 

Safe  on  the  basis  of  my  pow'r  I  stand, 

Above  the  reach  of  fortune's  fickle  hand.  280 

Lessen  she  may  my  inexhausted  store, 

And  much  destroy,  yet  still  must  leave  me  more. 

Suppose  it  possible  that  some  may  die 

Of  this  my  num'rous  lovely  progeny  ; 

Still  with  Latona  I  might  safely  vie,  285 

Who,  by  her  scanty  breed,  scarce  fit  to  name, 

But  just  escapes  the  childless  woman's  shame. 

Go  then,  with  speed  your  laurel'd  heads  uncrown, 

And  leave  the  silly  farce  you  have  begun. 

The  tim'rous  throng  their  sacred  rites  forbore,     290 
And  from  their  heads  the  verdant  laurel  tore  ; 
Their  haughty  queen  they  with  regret  obey'd, 
And  still  in  gentle  murmurs  softly  pray'd. 

High,  on  the  top  of  Cynthus'  shady  mount, 
With  grief  the  goddess  saw  the  base  affront:  295 

And,  the  abuse  revolving  in  her  breast, 
The  mother  her  twin-offspring  thus  address'd  : 

Lo  I,  my  children,  who  with  comfort  knew 
Your  god-like  birth,  and  thence  my  glory  drew ; 
And  thence  have  claim'd  precedency  of  place  800. 

From  all  but  Juno,  of  the  heav'njy  race, 
Must  now  despair,  and  languish  in  disgrace. 

BOOK  VI.  139 

My  godhead  questioned,  and  all  rites  divine, 

Unless  you  succour,  banish'd  from  my  shrine. 

Nay  more,  the  imp  of  Tantalus  has  flung  305 

Reflections  with  her  vile  paternal  tongue  ; 

Has  dar'd  prefer  her  mortal  breed  to  mine,     [repine  ! 

And  call'd  me  childless  ;  which,  just  Fate,  may  she 

When  to  urge  more  the  goddess  was  prepar'd, 
Phoebus  in  haste  replies,  Too  much  we've  heard,  310 
And  ev'ry  moment's  lost,  while  vengeance  is  deferr'd.-- 
Diana  spoke  the  same.    Then  both  enshroud 
Their  heav'nly  bodies  in  a  sable  cloud ; 
And  to  the  Theban  tow'rs  descending  light, 
Through  the  soft  yielding  air  direct  their  flight.     315 

Without  the  wall  their  lies  a  champaign  ground 
With  even  surface,  far  extending  round, 
Beaten  and  levell'd,  while  it  daily  feels 
The  trampling  horse,  and  chariot's  grinding  wheels. 
Part  of  proud  Niobe's  young  rival  breed,  320 

Practising  there  to  ride  the  manag'd  steed, 
Their  bridles  boss'd  with  gold,  were  mounted  high 
On  stately  furniture  of  Tyrian  die. 

Of  these,  Ismenos,  who  by  birth  had  been 
The  first  fair  issue  of  the  fruitful  queen,  325 

fust  as  he  drew  the  rein  to  guide  his  horse 
Around  the  compass  of  the  circling  course, 
Sigh'd  deeply,  and  the  pangs  of  smart  express'd, 
While  the  shaft  stuck,  engor'd,  within  his  breast: 
And  the  reins  dropping  from  his  dying  hand,  330 

He  sunk  quite  down,  and  tumbled  on  the  sand. 

Sipylus  next  the  rattling  quiver  heard, 
And  with  full  speed  for  his  escape  prepar'd ; 
As  when  the  pilot  from  the  black'ning  skies 
A  gath'ring  storm  of  wintry  rain  descries,  335 

His  sails  unfurl'd,  and  crowded  all  with  wind, 
He  strives  to  leave  the  threat'ning  cloud  behind : 
So  fled  the  youth :  but  an  unerring  dart 
O'ertook  him,  quick  discharged,  and  sped  with  art; 
Fix'd  in  his  neck  behind,  it  trembling  stood,  340 

And  at  his  throat  display'd  the  point  besmear'd  with 
Prone  as  his  posture  was,  he  tumbled  o'er,  [blood, 
And  bath'd  his  courser's  name  with  streaming  gore. 

Next  at  young  Phsedimus  they  took  their  aim ; 


And  Tantalus,  who  bore  bis  grandsire's  name :        345 

These,  when  their  other  exercise  was  done, 

To  try  the  wrestler's  oily  sport  begun ; 

And,  straining  ev'ry  nerve,  their  skill  express'd 

In  closest  grapple,  joining  breast  to  breast : 

When  from  the  bending  bow  an  arrow  sent,  350 

Join'd  as  they  were,  through  both  their  bodies  went : 

Both  groan'd,  and  writhing  both  their  limbs  with  pain, 

They  fell  together,  bleeding  on  the  plain : 

Then  both  their  languid  eye-balls  faintly  roll, 

And  thus  together  breathe  away  their  soul.  355 

With  grief  Alphenor  saw  their  doleful  plight, 
And  smote  his  breast,  and  sicken'd  at  the  sight ; 
Then  to  their  succour  ran  with  eager  haste, 
And,  fondly  griev'd;  their  stiffening  limbs  embrac'd : 
But  in  the  action  falls ;  a  thrilling  dart,  300 

By  Phoebus  guided,  pierc'd  him  to  the  heart. 
This,  as  they  drew  it  forth,  his  midriff  tore, 
Its  barbed  point  the  fleshy  fragments  bore, 
And  let  the  soul  gush  out  in  streams  of  purple  gore. 
But  Damascithon,  by  a  double  wound,  365 

Beardless  and  youug,  lay  gasping  on  the  ground, 
Fix'd  in  his  sinewy  ham,  the  steely  point 
Stuck  through  his  knee,  and  pierc'd  the  nervous  joint: 
And,  as  he  stoop'd  to  tug  the  painful  dart, 
Another  struck  him  in  a  vital  part ;  370 

Shot  through  his  wezon,  by  the  wing  it  hung, 
The  life-blood  forc'd  it  out,  and  darting  upward  sprung. 

Ilioneus,  the  last,  with  terror  stands ; 
Lifting  in  pray'r  his  unavailing  hands; 
And,  ignorant  from  whom  his  griefs  arise,  375 

Spare  me,  O  all  ye  heav'nly  pow'rs  (he  cries) : 
Phoebus  was  touch'd  too  late,  the  sounding  bow 
Had  sent  the  shaft,  and  struck  the  fatal  blow ; 
Which  yet  but  gently  gor'd  his  tender  side, 
So  by  a  slight  and  easy  wound  he  died.  380 

Swift  to  the  mother's  ears  the  rumour  came, 
And  doleful  sighs  the  heavy  news  proclaim ; 
With  anger  and  surprise,  inflam'd  by  turns, 
In  furious  rage  her  haughty  stomach  burns  : 
First  she  disputes  th'  effects  of  heav'nly  pow'r,        385 
Then  at  their  daring  boldness  wonders  more; 

BOOK  VI.  141 

For  poor  Araphion  with  sore  grief  distrest, 

Hoping  to  soothe  his  cares  by  endless  rest, 

Had  sheath'd  a  dagger  in  his  wretched  breast. 

And  she  who  toss'd  her  high  disdainful  head,  390 

When  through  the  streets  in  solemn  pomp,  she  led 

The  throng  that  from  Latona's  altar  fled, 

Assuming  state  beyond  the  proudest  queen, 

Was  now  the  miserablest  object  seen. 

Prostrate  among  the  clay-cold  dead  she  fell,  395 

And  kiss'd  an  undistinguish'd  last  farewell. 

Then  her  pale  arms  advancing  to  the  skies, 

Cruel  Latona!  triumph  now  (she  cries); 

My  grieving  soul  in  bitter  anguish  drench, 

And  with  my  woes  your  thirsty  passion  quench ;     400 

Feast  your  black  malice  at  a  price  thus  dear, 

While  the  sore  pangs  of  sev'n  such  deaths  I  bear. 

Triumph,  too  cruel  rival,  and  display 

Your  conquer'd  standard;  for  you've  won  the  day. 

Yet  I'll  excel;  for  yet,  though  sev'n  are  slain,       405 

Superior  still  in  number  I  remain. 

Scarce  had  she  spoke;    the  bowstring's  twanging 
Was  heard,  and  dealt  fresh  terrors  all  around ;  [sound 
Which  all,  but  Niobe  alone,  confound. 
Stunn'd  and  obdurate  by  her  load  of  grief,  410 

Insensible  she  sits,  nor  hopes  relief. 

Before  the  fun'ral  biers,  all  weeping  sad, 
Her  daughters  stood,  in  vests  of  sable  clad ; 
When  one,  surpris'd,  and  stung  with  sudden  smart, 
In  vain  attempts  to  draw  the  sticking  dart,  415 

But  to  grim  death  her  blooming  youth  resigns, 
And  o'er  her  brother's  corse  her  dying  head  reclines. 

This,  to  assuage  her  mother's  anguish  tries, 
And,  silenc'd  in  the  pious  action  dies ; 
Shot  by  a  secret  arrow,  wing'd  with  death,  420 

Her  fault'ring  lips  but  only  gasp'd  for  breath. 

One  on  her  dying  sister  breathes  her  last; 
Vainly  in  flight  another's  hopes  are  plac'd: 
This  hiding  from  her  fate  a  shelter  seeks ; 
That  trembling  stands,  and  fills  the  air  with  shrieks  : 
And  all  in  vain;  for  now  all  six  had  found  426 

Their  way  to  death,  each  by  a  diff'rent  wound. 
The  last,  with  eager  care  the  mother  veil'd,        ., 


Behind  her  spreading  mantle  close  conceal'd, 

And  with  her  body  guarded  as  a  shield  430 

Only  for  this,  this  youngest  I  implore, 

Grant  me  this  one  request,  I  ask  no  more ; 

O,  grant  me  this  !  she  passionately  cries: — - 

But  while  she  speaks,  the  destin'd  virgin  dies. 

Widow'd,  and  childless  (lamentable  state!)  435 

A  doleful  sight  among  the  dead  she  sate ; 
Harden'd  with  woes,  a  statue  of  despair, 
To  ev'ry  breath  of  wind  unmov'd  her  hair; 
Her  cheek  still  redd'ning,  but  its  colour  dead ; 
Faded  her  eyes,  and  set  within  her  head.  J4*> 

No  more  her  pliant  tongue  its  motion  keeps, 
But  stands  congeal'd  within  her  frozen  lips. 
Stagnate  and  dull,  within  her  purple  veins, 
Its  current  stopp'd,  the  lifeless  blood  remains. 
Her  feet  their  usual  offices  refuse,  445 

Her  arms  and  neck  their  graceful  gestures  lose : 
Action,  and  life  from  ev'ry  part  are  gone ; 
And  e'en  her  entrails  turn  to  solid  stone : 
Yet  still  she  weeps ;  and,  whirl'd  by  stormy  winds, 
Borne  through  the  air,  her  native  country  finds ;    450 
There  fix'd,  she  stands  upon  a  bleaky  hill, 
There  yet  her  marble  cheeks  eternal  teara  distil. 

Then  all,  reclaim'd  by  this  example  shew'd 
A  due  regard  for  each  peculiar  god : 
Both  men  and  women  their  devoirs  express'd,        456 
And  great  Latona's  awful  pow'r  confess'd. 
Then,  tracing  instances  of  older  time, 
To  suit  the  nature  of  the  present  crime, 
Thus  one  begins  his  tale : — Where  Lycia  yields 
A  golden  harvest  from  its  fertile  fields,  460 

Some  churlish  peasants,  in  the  days  of  yore, 
Provok'd  the  goddess  to  exert  her  pow'r. 
The  thing,  indeed,  the  meanness  of  the  place 
Has  made  obscure,  surprising  as  it  was ; 
But  I  myself  once  happen'd  to  behold  465 

This  famous  lake  of  which  the  story's  told. 
My  father  then,  worn  out  by  length  of  days, 
Nor  able  to  sustain  the  tedious  ways, 

BOOK  VI.  143 

Me,  with  a  guide,  had  sent  the  plains  to  roam, 

And  drive  his  well-fed,  straggling  heifers  home.      470 

Here,  as  we  saunter'd  through  the  verdant  meads, 

We  spy'd  a  lake  o'ergrown  with  trembling  reeds, 

Whose  wary  tops  an  op'ning  scene  disclose, 

From  which  an  antique  smoky  altar  rose. 

I,  as  my  superstition's  guide  had  done,  47.') 

Stopp'd  short,  and  bless'd  myself,  and  then  went  on ; 

Yet  I  inquired  to  whom  the  altar  stood, 

Faunus,  the  Na'ids,  or  some  native  god  1 

No  sylvan  deity,  my  friend  replies, 

Enshrin'd  within  this  hallow'd  altar  lies  :  480 

For  this,  O  youth,  to  that  fam'd  goddess  stands, 

Whom,  at  th'  imperial  Juno's  rough  commands, 

Of  ev'ry  quarter  of  the  earth  bereav'd, 

Delos,  the  floating  isle,  at  length  receiv'd. 

Who  there,  in  spite  of  enemies,  brought  forth,        485 

Beneath  an  olive's  shade,  her  great  twin-birth. 

Hence  too  she  fled  the  furious  step-dame's  pow'r, 
And  in  her  arms  a  double  godhead  bore ; 
And  now  the  borders  of  fair  Lycia  gain'd, 
Just  when  the  summer  solstice  parch'd  the  land.    490 
With  thirst  the  goddess  languishing,  no  more 
Her  empty'd  breast  would  yield  its  milky  store ; 
When,  from  below,  the  smiling  valley  shew'd 
A  silver  lake  that  in  its  bottom  flow'd : 
A  sort  of  clowns  were  reaping,  near  the  bank,        495 
The  bending  osier,  and  the  bulrush  dank; 
The  cress,  and  water-lily,  fragrant  weed, 
Whose  juicy  stalk  the  liquid  fountains  feed. 
The  goddess  came,  and,  kneeling  on  the  brink, 
Stoop'd  at  the  fresh  repast,  prepar'd  to  drink.         500 
Then  thus,  being  hinder'd  by  the  rabble  race, 
In  accents  mild  expostulates  the  case : 

Water  I  only  ask,  and  sure  'tis  hard 
From  nature's  common  rights  to  be  debarr'd : 
This,  as  the  genial  sun,  and  vital  air,  505 

Should  flow  alike  to  ev'ry  creature's  share, 
Yet  still  I  ask,  and  as  a  favour  crave, 
That,  which  a  public  bounty,  nature  gave. 
Nor  do  I  seek  my  weary  limbs  to  drench ; 
Only,  with  one  cool  draught,  my  thirst  I'd  quench. 


Now  from  my  throat  the  usual  moisture  dries,        511 

And  ev'n  my  voice  in  broken  accent  dies: 

One  draught  as  dear  as  life  I  should  esteem, 

And  water,  now  I  thirst,  would  nectar  seem. 

Oh!  let  my  little  babes  your  pity  move,  515 

And  melt  you?  hearts  to  charitable  love; 

They  (as  by  chance  they  did)  extend  to  you 

Their  little  hands,  and  my  request  pursue ! 

Whom  would  these  soft  persuasions  not  subdue, 
Though  the  most  rustic,  and  unmanner'd  crew  1     520 
Yet  they  the  goddess's  request  refuse, 
And,  with  rude  words,  reproachfully  abuse: 
Nay  more,  with  spiteful  feet  the  villains  trod 
O'er  the  soft  bottom  of  the  marshy  flood,  524 

And  blacken'd  all  the  lake  with  clouds  of  rising  mud. 

Her  thirst  by  indignation  was  suppress'd ; 
Bent  on  revenge,  the  goddess  stood  confess'd. 
Her  suppliant  hands  uplifting  to  the  skies, 
For  a  redress,  to  heav'n  she  now  applies, 
And,  may  you  live,  she  passionately  cried,  530 

Doom'd  in  that  pool  for-ever  to  abide ! 

The  goddess  has  her  wish :  for  now  they  choose 
To  plunge  and  dive  among  the  wat'ry  ooze; 
Sometimes  they  shew  their  head  above  the  brim, 
And  on  the  glassy  surface  spread  to  swim  ;  535 

Often  upon  the  bank  their  station  take, 
Then  spring,  and  leap  into  the  coolly  lake. 
Still,  void  of  shame,  they  lead  a  clam'rous  life, 
And,  croaking,  still  scold  on  in  endless  strife ; 
Compell'd  to  live  beneath  the  liquid  stream,  540 

Where  still  they  quarrel,  and  attempt  to  scream. 
Now,  from  their  bloated  throat,  their  voice  puts  on 
Imperfect  murmurs  in  a  hoarser  tone  ; 
Their  noisy  jaws,  with  bawling  now  grown  wide, 
(An  ugly  sight)  !  extend  on  either  side  :  545 

Their  motley  back,  streak'd  with  a  list  of  green, 
Join'd  to  their  head,  without  a  neck  is  seen ; 
And,  with  a  belly  broad  and  white,  they  look 
Mere  frogs,  and  still  frequent  the  muddy  brook. 

Scarce  had  the  man  this  famous  story  told,         550 
Of  vengeance  on  the  Lycians  shewn  of  old, 

BOOK  VI.  145 

When  straight  another  pictures  to  their  view 
The  satyr's  fate,  whom  angry  Phoebus  slew ; 
Who,  rais'd  with  high  conceit,  and  pufTd  with  pride, 
At  his  own  pipe  the  skilful  god  defy'd.  555 

Why  do  you  tear  me  from  myself,  he  cries? 
Ah,  cruel!  must  my  skin  be  made  the  prize? 
This  for  a  silly  pipe? — he  roaring  said; 
Meanwhile  the  skin  from  off  his  limbs  was  flay'd : 
All  bare  and  raw,  one  large  continu'd  wound,        560 
With  streams  of  blood  his  body  bath'd  the  ground. 
The  bluish  veins  their  trembling  pulse  disclos'd; 
The  stringy  nerves  lay  naked,  and  expos'd; 
His  guts  appear'd,  distinctly  each  express'd, 
With  ev'ry  shining  fibre  of  his  breast.  505 

The  fauns,  and  sylvans,  with  the  nymphs  that  rove 
Among  the  satyrs  in  the  shady  grove; 
Olympus,  known  of  old,  and  ev'ry  swain 
That  fed,  or  flock,  or  herd  upon  the  plain, 
Bewail'd  the  loss  ;  and  with  their  tears  that  flow'd, 
A  kindly  moisture  on  the  earth  bestow'd;  571 

That  soon  conjoin'd,  and  in  a  body  rang'd, 
Sprung  from  the  ground,  to  limpid  water  chang'd; 
Which,  down  thro'  Phrygia's  rocks,  a  mighty  stream, 
Comes  tumbling  to  the  sea ;  and  Marsya  is  its  name. 

From  these  relations,  straight  the  people  turn     57?; 
To  present  truth,  and  lost  Amphion  mourn  : 
The  mother  most  was  blam'd ;  yet  some  relate 
That  Pelops  pity' J,  and  bewail'd  her  fate, 
And  stripp'd  his  clothes,  and  laid  his  shoulder  bare, 
And  made  the  iv'ry  miracle  appear.  581 

This  shoulder,  from  the  first,  was  form'd  of  flesh, 
As  lively  as  the  other,  and  as  fresh ; 
But,  when  the  youth  was  by  his  father  slain, 
The  gods  restor'd  his  mangled  limbs  again  ;  585 

Only  that  place  which  joins  the  neck  and  arm, 
The  rest  untouch'd,  was  found  to  suffer  harm : 
The  loss  of  which  an  iv'ry  piece  sustain'd ; 
And  thus  the  youth  his  limbs  and  life  regain'd. 

To  Thebes  the  neighb'ring  princes  all  repair,       590 
And  with  condolence  the  misfortune  share. 


Each  bord'ring  state  in  solemn  form  address'd, 

And  each  betimes  a  friendly  grief  express'd. 

Argos,  with  Sparta's,  and  Mycenae's  towns, 

And  Calydon,  yet  free  from  fierce  Diana's  frowns. 

Corinth  for  finest  brass  well  fam'd  of  old,  596 

Orthomeno3  for  men  of  courage  bold : 

Cleonje  lying  in  the  lowly  dale, 

And  rich  Messaene  with  its  fertile  vale : 

Pylos,  for  Nestor's  city  after  fam'd,  600 

And  Trcezen,  not  as  yet  from  Pittheus  nam'd; 

And  those  fair  cities,  which  are  hemm'd  around 

By  double  seas  within  the  Isthmi  in  ground ; 

And  those,  which  farther  from  the  sea-coast  stand, 

Lodg'd  in  the  bosom  of  the  spacious  land.  605 

Who  can  believe  it '{   Athens  was  the  last : 
Though  for  politeness  fam'd  for  ages  past. 
For  a  strait  siege,  which  then  their  walls  inclos'd, 
Such  acts  of  kind  humanity  oppos'd : 
And  thick  with  ships,  from  foreign  nations  bound,  610 
Sea- ward  their  city  lay  invested  round, 

These,  with  auxiiiar  forces  led  from  far, 
Tereus  of  Thrace,  brave,  and  inur'd  to  war, 
Had  quite  defeated,  and  obtain'd  a  name, 
The  warrior's  due,  among  the  sons  of  fame.  615 

This,  with  his   wealth,   and  pow'r,   and   ancient 

From  Mars  deriv'd,  Pandion's  thoughts  incline 
His  daughter  Procne  with  the  prince  to  join. 

Nor  Hymen,  nor  the  Graces  here  preside, 
Not  Juno  to  befriend  the  blooming  bride;  620 

But  fiends  with  fun'ral  brands  the  process  led, 
And  furies  waited  at  the  genial  bed : 
And  all  night  long  the  screeching  owl  aloof, 
With  baleful  notes  sat  brooding  o'er  the  roof. 
With  such  ill  omens  was  the  match  begun,  625 

That  made  them  parents  of  a  hopeful  son. 
Now  Thrace  congratulates  their  seeming  joy, 
And  they,  in  thankful  rites,  their  minds  employ. 
If  the  fair  queen's  espousals  pleas'd  before, 
Itys,  the  new-born  prince,  now  pleases  more ;         630 
And  each  bright  day,  the  birth,  and  bridal  feast, 
Were  kept  with  hallow'd  pomp  above  the  rest. 

BOOK  VI.  147 

So  far  true  happiness  may  lie  conceal'd, 
When,  by  false  lights,  we  fancy  'tis  reveal'd ! 

Now,  since  their  nuptials,  had  the  golden  san      G35 
Five  courses  round  his  ample  zodiac  run  ; 
When  gentle  Procne  thus  her  lord  address'd, 
And  spoke  the  secret  wishes  of  her  breast : — 
If  I  (she  said)  have  ever  favour  found, 
Let  my  petition  with  success  he  crown'd :  640 

Let  me  at  Athens  my  dear  sister  see, 
Or  let  her  come  to  Thrace,  and  visit  me : 
And,  lest  my  father  should  her  absence  mourn, 
Promise  that  she  shall  make  a  quick  return. 
With  thanks  I'd  own  the  obligation  due  645 

Only,  O  Tereus,  to  the  gods  and  you. 

Now,  ply'd  with  oar,  and  sail  at  his  command, 
The  nimble  galleys  reach M  th'  Athenian  land, 
And  anchor'd  in  the  fam'd  Pirsean  bay, 
While  Tereus  to  the  palace  takes  his  way ;  650 

The  king  salutes,  and  ceremonies  past, 
Begins  the  fatal  embassy  at  last : 
The  occasion  of  his  voyage  he  declares, 
And  with  his  own,  his  wife's  request  prefers ; 
Asks  leave  that,  only  for  a  little  space,  655 

Their  lovely  sister  might  embark  for  Thrace. 

Thus,  while  he  spoke,  appear'd  the  royal  maid, 
Bright  Philomela,  splendidly  array'd; 
But  most  attractive  in  her  charming  face, 
And  comely  person,  turn'd  with  ev'ry  grace  :  660 

Like  those  fair  nymphs,  that  are  describ'd  to  rove 
Across  the  glades,  and  op'nings  of  the  grove ; 
Only  that  these  are  dress'd  for  Sylvan  sports, 
And  less  become  the  finery  of  courts. 
Tereus  beheld  the  virgin,  and  admir'd,  665 

And  with  the  coals  of  burning  lust  was  fir'd  : 
Like  crackling  stubble,  or  the  summer  hay, 
When  forked  lightnings  o'er  the  meadows  play. 
Such  charms  in  any  breast  might  kindle  love, 
But  him  the  heats  of  inbred  lewdness  move ;  670 

To  which  though  Thrace  is  naturally  prone, 
Yet  his  is  still  superior,  and  his  own. 
Straight  her  attendants  he  designs  to  buy, 


And  with  large  bribes  her  governors  would  try  : 

Herself  with  ample  gifts  resolves  to  bend,  on 

And  his  whole  kingdom  in  th'  attempt  expend ; 

Or,  snatch'd  away  by  force  of  arms  to  bear, 

And  justify  the  rape  with  open  war. 

The  boundless  passion  boils  within  his  breast, 

And  his  projecting  soul  admits  no  rest.  680 

And  now,  impatient  of  the  least  delay, 
By  pleading  Procne's  cause,  he  speeds  his  way : 
The  eloquence  of  love  his  tongue  inspires, 
And  in  his  wife's,  he  speaks  his  own  desires  ; 
Hence  all  his  importunities  arise,  685 

And  tears  unmanly  trickle  from  his  eyes. 

Ye  gods  !  what  thick  involving  darkness  blinds 
The  stupid  faculties  of  mortal  minds ! 
Tereus  the  credit  of  good-nature  gains 
From  these  his  crimes;  so  well  the  villain  feigns.  690 
And,  unsuspecting  of  his  base  designs, 
In  the  request  fair  Philomela  joins ; 
Her  snowy  arms  her  aged  sire  embrace, 
And  clasp  his  neck  with  an  endearing  grace ; 
Only  to  see  her  sister  she  entreats,  695 

A  seeming  blessing  which  a  curse  completes. 
Tereus  surveys  her  with  a  luscious  eye, 
And  in  his  mind  forestals  the  blissful  joy: 
Her  circling  arms  a  scene  of  lust  inspire, 
And  ev'ry  kiss  forments  the  raging  fire.  700 

Fondly  he  wishes  for  the  father's  place, 
To  feel,  and  to  return  the  warm  embrace: 
Since  not  the  nearest  ties  of  filial  blood 
Would  damp  his  flame,  and  force  him  to  be  good. 
At  length,  for  both  their  sakes,  the  king  agrees;    70S 
And  Philomela,  on  her  bended  knees, 
Thanks  him  for  what  her  fancy  calls  success, 
When  cruel  fate  intends  her  nothing  less. 

Now  Phoebus,  hast'ning  to  ambrosial  rest, 
His  fiery  steeds  drove  sloping  down  the  west:         710 
The  sculptur'd  gold  with  sparkling  wines  was  fill'd, 
And,  with  rich  meats,  each  cheerful  table  smil'd. 
Plenty  and  mirth  the  royal  banquet  close, 
Then  all  retire  to  sleep,  and  sweet  repose, 
But  the  lewd  monarch,  though  withdrawn  apart,  7l!i 

BOOK  VI.  149 

Still  feels  love's  poison  rankling  in  his  heart: 

Her  face  divine  is  starap'd  within  his  breast, 

Fancy  imagines,  and  improves  the  rest: 

And  thus,  kept  waking  by  intense  desire, 

He  nourishes  his  own  prevailing  fire.  720 

Next  day  the  good  old  king  for  Tereus  sends, 
And  to  his  charge  the  virgin  recommends; 
His  hand  with  tears  th'  indulgent  father  press'd ; 
Then  spoke,  and  thus,  with  tenderness,  address'd: 

Since  the  kind  instances  of  pious  love  725 

Do  all  pretence  of  obstacle  remove  ; 
Since  Procne's,  and  her  own,  with  your  request, 
O'er- rule  the  fears  of  a  paternal  breast; 
With  you,  dear  son,  my  daughter  I  entrust, 
And  by  the  gods  adjure  you  to  be  just ;  730 

By  truth,  and  ev'ry  consanguineal  tie, 
To  watch  and  guard  her  with  a  father's  eye. 
And,  since  the  least  delay  will  tedious  prove, 
In  keeping  from  my  sight  the  child  I  love, 
With  speed  return  her,  kindly  to  assuage  735 

The  tedious  troubles  of  my  ling'ring  age. 
And  you,  my  Philomel,  let  it  suffice, 
To  know  your  sister's  banish'd  from  my  eyes; 
If  any  sense  of  duty  sways  your  mind, 
Let  me  from  you  the  shortest  absence  find.  740 

He  wept;  then  kiss'd  his  child;  and  while  he  speaks, 
The  tears  fall  gently  down  his  aged  cheeks. 

Next,  as  a  pledge  of  fealty,  he  demands, 

And  with  a  solemn  charge,  conjoins  their  hands  : 
Then,  to  bis  daughter,  and  his  grandson  sends,        745 

And  by  their  mouth  a  blessing  recommends; 

While,  in  a  voice  with  dire  forebodings  broke, 

Sobbing,  and  faint,  the  last  farewell  was  spoke. 
Now,  Philomela,  scarce  receiv'd  on  board, 

And  in  the  royal  gilded  bark  secur'd,  750 

Beheld  the  dashes  of  the  bending  oar, 

The  ruffled  sea,  and  the  receding  shore; 

When  straight  (his  joy  impatient  of  disguise), 

We've  gain'd  our  point, — the  rough  barbarian  cries; 

Now  I  possess  the  dear,  the  blissful  hour,  755 

And  ev'ry  wish  subjected  to  my  pow'r. 

Transports  of  lust  his  vicious  thoughts  employ, 


And  he  forbears,  with  pain,  th'  expected  joy. 

His  gloating  eyes  incessantly  survey'd 

The  virgin  beauties  of  the  lovely  maid:  760 

As  when  the  bold  rapacious  bird  of  Jove, 

With  crooked  talons  stooping  from  above, 

Has  snatch'd  and  carry'd  to  his  lofty  nest 

A  captive  hare,  with  cruel  gripe  oppre3s'd ; 

Secure,  with  fix'd,  and  unrelenting  eyes,  765 

He  sits  and  views  the  helpless,  trembling  prize. 

Their  vessels  now  had  made  th'  intended  land, 
And  all  with  joy  descend  upon  the  strand ; 
When  the  false  tyrant  seiz'd  the  princely  maid, 
And  to  a  lodge  in  distant  woods  convey'd :  770 

Pale,  sinking,  and  distress'd  with  jealous  fears, 
And  asking  for  her  sister  all  in  tears, 
The  letcher,  for  enjoyment  fully  bent, 
No  longer  now  conceal'd  his  base  intent: 
But  with  rude  haste  the  bloomy  girl  deflour'd,        775 
Tender,  defenceless,  and  with  ease  o'erpower'd. 
Her  piercing  accents  to  her  sire  complain, 
And  to  her  absent  sister,  but  in  vain  : 
In  vain  she  importunes,  with  doleful  cries, 
Each  unattentive  godhead  of  the  skies.  780 

She  pants,  and  trembles,  like  the  bleating  prey, 
From  some  close-hunted  wolf  just  snatch'd  away  : 
That  still,  with  fearful  horror,  looks  around, 
And  on  its  flank  regards  the  bleeding  wound. 
Or,  as  the  tim'rous  dove,  the  danger  o'er,  785 

Beholds  her  shining  plumes  besmear'd  with  gore, 
And,  though  deliver'd  from  the  falcon's  claw 
Yet  shivers,  and  retains  a  secret  awe. 

But  when  her  mind  a  calm  reflection  shar'd, 
And  all  her  scatter'd  spirits  were  repair'd :  700 

Torn,  and  disorder'd  while  her  tresses  hung, 
Her  livid  hands,  like  one  that  mourn'd,  she  wrung ; 
Then  thus,  with  grief  o'erwhelm'd  her  languid  eyes, 
Savage,  inhuman,  cruel  wretch  !  (she  cries  ;)  794 

Whom  nor  a  parent's  strict  commands  could  move, 
Though  charg'd,  and  utter'd  with  the  tears  of  love; 
Nor  virgin  innocence,  nor  all  that's  due 
To  the  strong  contract  of  the  nuptial  vow: 
Virtue,  by  this,  in  wild  confusion 's  laid, 

BOOK  VI.  151 

And  I  compell'd  to  wrong  my  sister's  bed ;  800 

Whilst  you,  regardless  of  your  marriage  oath, 

With  stains  of  incest  have  defil'd  us  both. 

Though  I  deserv'd  some  punishment  to  find, 

This  was,  ye  gods,  too  cruel  and  unkind. 

Yet,  villain,  to  complete  your  horrid  guilt,  g05 

Stab  here,  and  let  my  tainted  blood  be  spilt. 

O  happy  !  had  it  come,  before  I  knew 

The  curs'd  embrace  of  vile  perfidious  you; 

Then  my  pale  ghost,  pure  from  incestuous  love,      , 

Had  wander'd  spotless  through  th'  Elysian  grove.  810 

But,  if  the  gods  above  have  pow'r  to  know, 

And  judge  those  actions  that  are  done  below ; 

Unless  the  dreadful  thunders  of  the  sky, 

Like  me,  subdu'd  and  violated  lie ; 

Still  my  revenge  shall  take  its  proper  time,  815 

And  suit  the  baseness  of  your  hellish  crime. 

Myself,  abandon'd,  and  devoid  of  shame, 

Through  the  wide  world  your  actions  will  proclaim ; 

Or  though  I'm  prison'd  in  this  lonely  den, 

Obscur'd  and  buried  from  the  sight  of  men,  820 

My  mournful  voice  the  pitying  rocks  shall  move, 

And  my  complainings  echo  through  the  grove. 

Hear  me,  O  Heav'n  !  and  if  a  god  be  there, 

Let  him  regard  me,  and  accept  my  pray'r. 

Struck  with  these  words,  the  tyrant's  guilty  breast 
With  fear  and  anger  was,  by  turns,  possest ;  826 

Now,  with  remorse,  his  conscience  deeply  stung, 
He  drew  the  falchion  that  beside  him  hung, 
And  first  her  tender  arms  behind  her  bound, 
Then  dragg'd  her  by  the  hair  along  the  ground.      830 
The  princess  willingly  her  throat  reclin'd, 
And  view'd  the  steel  with  a  contented  mind ; 
But  soon  her  tongue  the  girding  pincers  strain, 
With  anguish,  soon  she  feels  the  piercing  pain  : 
'  O  father  !  father  !'  she  would  fain  have  spoke,     835 
But  the  sharp  torture  her  intention  broke  ; 
In  vain  she  tries,  for  now  the  blade  has  cut 
Her  tongue  sheer  off,  close  to  the  trembling  root. 
The  mangled  part  still  quiver'd  on  the  ground,  - 
Murmuring  with  a  faint,  imperfect  sound :  840 

And,  as  a  serpent  writhes  his  wounded  train, 


Uneasy,  panting,  and  possess'd  with  pain ; 

The  piece,  while  life  remain'd,  still  trembled  fast, 

And  to  its  mistress  pointed  to  the  last. 

Yet,  after  this  so  damn'd  and  black  a  deed,  845 

Fame  (which  I  scarce  can  credit)  has  agreed, 
That  on  her  rifled  charms,  still  void  of  shame, 
He  frequently  indulg'd  his  lustful  flame. 
At  last  he  ventures  to  his  Procne's  sight, 
Loaded  with  guilt,  and  cloy'd  with  long  delight ;    850 
There,  with  feign'd  grief,  and  false,  dissembled  sighs, 
Begins  a  formal  narrative  of  lies; 
Her  sister's  death  he  artfully  declares, 
Then  weeps,  and  raises  credit  from  his  tears. 
Her  vest,  with  fiow'rs  of  gold  embroider'd  o'er,       855 
With  grief  distress'd,  the  mournful  matron  tore, 
And  a  beseeming  suit  of  gloomy  sable  wore. 
With  cost,  an  honoraiy  tomb  she  rais'd, 
And  thus  th'  imaginary  ghost  appeas'd. 
Deluded  queen!  the  fate  of  her  you  love,  8C0 

Nor  grief,  nor  pity,  but  revenge  should  move. 

Though  the  twelve  signs  had  pass'd  the  circling  sun, 
And  round  the  compass  of  the  zodiac  run  : 
What  must  unhappy  Philomela  do, 
For  ever  subject  to  her  keeper's  view  ?  865 

Huge  walls  of  massy  stone  the  lodge  surround, 
From  her  own  mouth  no  way  of  speaking's  found. 
But  all  our  wants  by  wit  may  be  supply'd, 
And  arts  makes  up  what  fortune  has  denied. 
With  skill  exact  a  Phrygian  web  she  strung,  87fl 

Fix'd  to  a  loom  that  in  her  chamber  hung, 
Where  in-wrought  letters,  upon  white  display'd. 
In  purple  notes,  her  wretched  case  betray 'd: 
The  piece,  when  finish'd,  secretly  gave 
Into  the  charge  of  one  poor  menial  slave ;  875 

And  then,  with  gestures  made  him  Understand, 
It  must  be  safe  convey'd  to  Procne's  hand. 
The  slave  with  speed  the  queen's  apartment  sought, 
And  render'd  up  his  charge,  unknowing  what  he 

But  when  the  ciphers,  figur'd  in  each  fold,  '880 

Her  sister's  melancholy  story  told, 
(Strange  that  she  could!)  with  silence  she  survey  td 

BOOK  VI.  153 

The  tragic  piece,  and  without  weeping  read: 

la  such  tumultuous  haste  her  passions  sprung. 

They  chok'd  her  voice,  and  quite  disarni'd  her  tongue. 

No  room  for  female  tears ;  the  furies  rise,  8S6 

Darting  vindictive  glances  from  her  eyes; 

And,  stung  with  rage,  she  bounds  from  place  to  place, 

While  stern  revenge  sits  low'ring  in  her  face. 

Now  the  triennial  celebration  came,  890 

Observ'd  to  Bacchus  by  each  Thracian  dame ; 
When,  in  tbe  privacies  of  night  retir'd, 
They  act  his  rites,  with  sacred  rapture  fir'd : 
By  night,  the  tinkling  cymbals  ring  around, 
While  the  shrill  notes  from  Rhodope  resound;       895 
By  night,  the  queen,  disguis'd,  forsakes  the  court, 
To  mingle  in  the  festival  resort. 
Leaves  of  the  curling  vine  her  temples  shade, 
And,  with  a  circling  wreath,  adorn  her  head: 
Adown  her  back  the  stag's  rough  spoils  appear,       900 
Light  on  her  shoulder  leans  a  cornel  spear. 

Thus,  in  the  fury  of  the  god  conceal'd, 
Procne  her  own  imd  headstrong  passion  veil'd; 
Now,  with  her  gang,  to  the  thick  wood  she  flies, 
And  with  religious  yellings  fills  the  skies;  905 

The  fatal  lodge,  as  'twere  by  chance,  she  seeks, 
And,  through  the  bolted  doors,  an  entrance  breaks; 
From  thence,  her  sister  snatching  by  the  hand, 
Mask'dlike  the  ranting  Bacchanalian  band, 
Within  the  limits  of  the  court  she  drew,  910 

Shading,  with  ivy  green,  her  outward  hue. 
But  Philomela,  conscious  of  the  place, 
Felt  new  reviving  pangs  of  her  disgrace; 
A  shiv'ring  cold  prevail'd  in  ev'ry  part, 
And  the  chill'd  blood  ran  trembling  to  her  heart.  915 

Soon  as  the  queen  a  fit  retirement  found, 
Stript  of  the  garlands  that  her  temples  crown'd, 
She  straight  unveil'd  her  blushing  sister's  face, 
And  fondly  clasp'd  her  with  a  close  embrace : 
But,  in  confusion  lost,  th'  unhappy  maid,  920 

With  shame  dejected,  hung  her  drooping  head, 
As  guilty  of  a  crime  that  stain'd  her  sister's  bed. 
That  speech,  that  should  her  injur'd  virtue  clear 


And  make  her  spotless  innocence  appear, 

Is  now  no  more  ;  only  her  hands,  and  eyes  955 

Appeal,  in  signals,  to  the  conscious  skies. 

In  Procne's  breast  the  rising  passions  boil, 

And  burst  in  anger  with  a  madrecoil ; 

Her  sister's  ill-tim'd  grief,  with  scorn,  she  blames, 

Then,  in  these  furious  words  her  rage  proclaims :  930 

Tears,  unavailing,  but  defer  our  time, 
The  stabbing  sword  must  expiate  the  crime  ; 
Or  worse,  if  wit,  on  bloody  vengeance  bent, 
A  weapon  more  tormenting  can  invent. 
O  sister!  I've  prepar'd  my  stubborn  heart,  935 

To  act  some  hellish,  and  unheard-of  part; 
Either  the  palace  to  surround  with  fire, 
And  see  the  villain  in  the  flames  expire ; 
Or,  with  a  knife,  dig  out  his  cursed  eyes, 
Or,  his  false  tongue  with  racking  engines  seize  ;    OiO 
Or,  cut  away  the  part  that  injur'd  you, 
And,  through  a  thousand  wounds,his  guilty  soul  pursue. 
Tortures  enough  my  passion  has  design'd, 
But  the  variety  distracts  my  mind. 

Awhile,  thus  wav'ring,  stood  the  furious  dame,    MS 
When  Itys  fondling  to  his  mother  came ; 
From  him  the  cruel  fatal  hint  she  took, 
She  view'd  him  with  a  stern  remorseless  look ; 
Ah'  but  too  like  thy  wicked  sire  (she  said), 
Forming  the  direful  purpose  in  her  head.  950 

At  this  a  sullen  grief  her  voice  suppress'd, 
While  silent  passions  struggle  in  her  breast. 
Now,  at  her  lap  arriv'd,  the  rlatt'ring  boy 
Salutes  his  parent  with  a  smiling  joy  ; 
About  her  neck  his  little  arms  are  thrown,  0;15 

And  he  accosts  her  in  a  prattling  tone. 
Then  her  tempestuous  anger  was  allay'd, 
And  in  its  full  career  her  vengeance  stay'd ; 
While  tender  thoughts,  in  spite  of  passion,  rise, 
And  melting  tears  disarm  her  threat'ning  eyes.      969 
But  when  she  found  the  mother's  easy  heart, 
Too  fondly  swerving  from  th'  intended  part ; 
Her  injur'd  sister's  face  again  she  view'd : 
And,  as  by  turns  surveying  both  she  stood, 
While  this  fond  boy  (she  said)  can  thus  express     9G5 

BOOK  VI.  155 

The  moving  accents  of  his  fond  address ; 

Why  stands  my  sister  of  her  tongue  bereft, 

Forlorn,  and  sad,  in  speechless  silence  left? 

O  Procne,  see  the  fortune  of  your  house!  969 

Such  is  your  fate,  when  raatch'd  to  such  a  spouse  ! 

Conjugal  duty,  if  observ'd  to  him, 

Would  change  from  virtue,  and  become  a  crime  : 

For  all  respect  to  Tereus  must  debase 

The  noble  blood  of  great  Pandion's  race.  074 

Straight  at  these  words,  with  big  resentment  fill'd, 
Furious  her  look,  she  flew,  and  seiz'd  her  child  ; 
Like  a  fell  tigress  of  the  savage  kind, 
That  drags  the  tender  suckling  of  the  hind 
Through  India's  gloomy  groves,  where  Ganges  laves 
The  6hady  scene,  and  rolls  his  streamy  waves.        980 

Now  to  a  close  apartment  they  were  come, 
Far  off  retirM  within  the  spacious  dome; 
When  Procne,  on  revengeful  mischief  bent, 
Home  to  his  heart  a  piercing  poniard  sent. 
Itys,  with  rueful  cries,  but  all  too  late,  985 

Holds  out  his  hands,  and  deprecates  his  fate ; 
Still  at  his  mother's  neck  he  fondly  aims, 
And  strives  to  melt  her  with  endearing  names  ; 
Yet  still  the  cruel  mother  perseveres, 
Nor  with  concern  his  bitter  anguish  hears.  090 

This  might  suffice  ;  but  Philomela  too 
Across  his  throat  a  shining  cutlass  drew. 
Then  both,  with  knives,  dissect  each  quiv'ring  part, 
And  carve  the  butcher' d limbs  with  cruel  art; 
Which  whelm'd  in  boiling  caldrons  o'er  the  fire,      995 
Or  turn'd  on  spits,  in  steamy  smoke  aspire  : 
While  the  long  entries,  with  their  slipp'ry  floor, 
Run  down  in  purple  streams  of  clotted  gore. 

Ask'd  by  his  wife  to  his  inhuman  feast, 
Tereus,  unknowingly,  is  made  a  guest:  1000 

Whilst  she,  her  plot  the  better  to  disguise, 
Styles  it  some  unknown  mystic  sacrifice ; 
And  such  the  nature  of  the  hallow'd  rite, 
The  wife  her  husband  only  could  invite,  1004 

The  slaves  must  all  withdraw,  and  be  debarr'd  the 
Tereus,  upon  a  throne  of  antique  state,  [sight; 

Loftily  rais'd,  before  the  banquet  sate ; 


And,  glutton-like,  luxuriously  pleas'd, 

With  his  own  flesh  his  hungry  maw  appeas'd. 

Nay,  such  a  blindness  o'er  his  senses  falls,  1010 

That  he  for  Itys  to  the  table  calls. 

When  Procne,  now  impatient  to  disclose 

The  joy  that  from  her  full  revenge  arose, 

Cries  out,  in  transports  of  a  cruel  mind, 

'  Within  yourself  your  Itys  you  may  find.'  1015 

Still  at  this  puzzling  answer  with  surprise, 

Around  the  room  he  winds  his  curious  eyes ; 

And,  as  he  still  intpoir'd,  and  call'd  aloud, 

Fierce  Philomela,  all  besmear'd  with  blood,  1019 

Her  hands  with  murder  stain'd,  her  spreading  hair 

Hanging  disbevell'd,  with  a  ghastly  air, 

Stepp'd  forth,  and  flung  full  in  the  tyrant's  face 

The  head  of  Itys,  gory  as  it  was  : 

Nor  ever  long'd  so  much  to  use  her  tongue,  1024 

And,  with  a  just  reproach,  to  vindicate  her  wrong. 

The  Thracian  monarch  from  the  table  flings, 
While  with  his  cries  the  vaulted  parlour  rings ; 
His  imprecations  echo  down  to  hell, 
And  rouse  the  snaky  furies  from  their  Stygian  celL 
One  while,  he  labours  to  disgorge  his  breast,  103O 

And  free  his  stomach  from  the  cursed  feast; 
Then,  weeping  o'er  his  lamentable  doom, 
He  styles  himself  his  son's  sepulchral  tomb. 
Now,  with  drawn  sabre,  and  impetuous  speed, 
In  close  pursuit  he  drives  Pandion's  breed  ;  1035 

Whose  nimble  feet  spring  w^th  so  swift  a  force 
Across  the  fields,  they  seem  to  wing  their  course : 
And  now,  on  real  wings  themselves  they  raise, 
And  steer  their  airy  flight  by  diff'rent  ways: 
One  to  the  woodlands  shady  covert  hies,  1040 

Around  the  smoky  roof  the  other  flies ; 
Whose  feathers  yet  the  marks  of  murder  stain, 
Where,  stampt  upon  her  breast,  the  crimson  spots 
Tereus,  through  grief,  and  haste  to  be  reveng'd,  [remain. 
Shares  the  like  fate,  and  to  a  bird  is  chang'd:        1045 
Fix'd  on  his  head,  the  crested  plumes  appear, 
Long  is  his  beak,  and  sharpen'd  like  a  spear ; 
Thus  arm'd,  his  looks  his  inward  mind  display. 
And,  to  a  lapwiag  turn'd,  he  fans  his  way. 

BOOK  VI.  157 

Exceeding  trouble,  for  his  children's  fate,  1050 

Shorten'd  Pandion's  days,  and  chang'dhis  date, 
Down  to  the  shades  .below,  with  sorrow  spent, 
An  early,  unexpected  ghost  he  went. 

Erectheus  next  th'  Athenian  sceptre  sway'd, 
Whose  rule  the  state  with  joint  consent  obeyed;    1055 
So  mix'd  his  justice  with  his  valour  flow'd, 
His  reign  one  scene  of  princely  goodness  shewM. 
Four  hopeful  youths,  as  many  females  bright, 
Sprang  from  his  loins,  and  sooth'd  him  with  delight. 

Two  of  these  sisters,  of  a  lovely  air,  10€(? 

Excell'd  the  rest,  though  all  the  rest  were  fair. 
Procris,  to  Cephalus  in  wedlock  tied, 
Bless'd  the  young  Sylvan  with  a  blooming  bride: 
For  Orithyia  Boreas  suffered  pain, 
For  the  coy  maid  sued  long,  but  sued  in  vain ;       1065 
Tereus  his  neighbour,  and  his  Thracian  blood, 
Against  the  match  a  main  objection  stood ; 
Which  made  his  vows,  and  all  his  suppliant  love, 
Empty  as  air,  and  ineffectual  prove. 

But  when  he  found  his  soothing  flatt'ries  fail,  1070 
Nor  saw  his  soft  addresses  could  avail ; 
Blust'ring  with  ire,  he  quickly  has  recourse 
To  rougher  arts,  and  his  own  native  force. 

'Tis  well  (he  said) :  such  usage  is  my  due, 
When  thus  disguis'd  by  foreign  ways  I  sue;  1075 

When  my  stern  airs,  and  fierceness  I  disclaim, 
And  sigh  for  love  ridiculously  tame  ; 
When  soft  addresses  foolishly  I  try, 
Nor  my  own  stronger  remedies  apply. 
By  force  and  violence  I  chiefly  live,  1080 

By  them  the  low'ring  stormy  tempests  drive ; 
In  foaming  billows  raise  the  hoary  deep, 
Writhe  knotted  oaks,  and  sandy  deserts  sweep, 
Congeal  the  falling  flakes  of  fleecy  snow, 
And  bruise,  with  rattling  hail,  the  plains  below.    1085 
I,  and  my  brother-winds,  when  join'd  above, 
Through  the  waste  champaign  of  the  skies  we  rove, 
With  such  a  boist'rous  full  career  engage, 
That  heav'n's  whole  concave  thunders  at  our  rage. 
While  struckfrom  nitrous  clouds,  fierce  lightningsplay, 


Dart  through  the  storm,  and  gild  the  gloomy  day. 

Or  when,  in  subterraneous  caverns  pent, 

My  breath  against  the  hollow  earth  is  bent, 

The  quaking  world  above,  and  ghosts  below, 

My  mighty  pow'r,  by  dear  experience,  know,       1095 

Tremble  with  fear,  and  dread  the  fatal  blow. 

This  is  the  only  cure  to  be  applied, 

Thus  to  Erectheus  I  should  be  allied; 

And  thus  the  scornful  virgin  should  be  woo'd, 

Not  by  intreaty,  but  by  force  subdu'd.  1100 

Boreas,  in  passion,  spoke  these  huffing  things, 
And,  as  he  spoke,  he  shook  his  dreadful  wings; 
At  which,  afar,  the  shiv'ring  sea  was  fann'd, 
And  the  wide  surface  of  the  distant  land : 
His  dusty  mantle  o'er  the  hills  he  drew,  1105 

And  swept  the  lowly  valleys,  as  he  flew ; 
Then,  with  his  yellow  wings,  embrac'd  the  maid, 
And,  wrapt  in  dusky  clouds,  far  off  convey'd. 
The  sparkling  blaze  of  love's  prevailing  fire  1110 

Shone  brighter  as  he  flew,  and  flam'd  the  higher. 
And  now  the  god,  possest  of  his  delight, 
To  northern  Thrace  pursu'd  his  airy  flight, 
Where  the  young  ravish'd  nymph  became  his  bride, 
And  soon  the  luscious  sweets  of  wedlock  try'd. 

Two  lovely  twins,  th'  effect  of  this  embrace-,        1115 
Crown  their  soft  labours,  and  their  nuptials  grace; 
Who,  like  their  mother,  beautiful  and  fair, 
Their  father's  strength,  and  feather'd  pinions  share : 
Yet  these,  at  first,  were  wanting,  as  'tis  said, 
And  after,  as  they  grew,  their  shoulders  spread.    1120 
Zethes  and  Calais,  the  pretty  twins, 
Remain'd  unfledg'd,  while  smooth  their  beardless  chins  ; 
But  when,  in  time,  the  budding  silver  down 
Shaded  their  face,  and  on  their  cheeks  was  grown, 
Two  sprouting  wings  upon  their  shoulders  sprung, 
Like  those  in  birds  that  veil  the  callow  young.      1126 
Then  as  their  age  advanc'd,  and  they  began 
From  greener  youth  to  ripen  into  man, 
With  Jason's  Argonauts  they  cross'd  the  seas, 
Embark'd  in  quest  of  the  fam'd  golden  fleece ;       1130 
There,  with  the  rest,  the  first  frail  vessel  try'd, 
And  boldly  ventur'd  on  the  swelling  tide. 




The  story  of  Medea  and  Jason.  The  dragon's  teeth  transformed 
to  men.  Old  /Eson  restored  to  youth.  The  ileath  of  Pelias. 
The  story  of  iEgeus.  The  story  of  ants  changed  to  men.  The 
story  of  Cephiiius  and  Procris. 

The  Argonauts  now  stemmed  the  foaming  tide, 
And  to  Arcadia's  shore  their  course  apply'd : 
Where  sightless  Phineus  spent  his  age  in  grief, 
But  Boreas'  sons  engage  in  his  relief; 
And  those  unwelcome  guests,  the  odious  race  5 

Of  Harpies,  from  the  monarch's  table  chase. 
With  Jason  then  they  greater  toils  sustain, 
And  Phasis'  slimy  banks  at  last  they  gain. 

Here  boldly  they  demand  the  golden  prize 
Of  Scythia's  king,  who  sternly  thus  replies,  10 

That  mighty  labours  they  must  first  o'ercome, 
Or  sail  their  Argo  thence  unfreighted  home. 

Meanwhile  Medea,  seiz'd  with  fierce  desire, 
By  reason  strives  to  quench  the  raging  fire ; 
But  strives  in  vain! — Some  god  (she  said)  withstands , 
And  reason's  baffled  counsel  countermands.  16 

What  unseen  pow'r  does  this  disorder  move? 
'Tis  love,  at  least 'tis  like  what  men  call  love, 
Else  wherefore  should  the  king's  commands  appear 
To  me  too  hard  ? — But  so  indeed  they  are.  20 

Why  should  I  for  a  stranger  fear,  lest  he 
Should  perish,  whom  I  did  but  lately  see  ? 
His  death  or  safety,  what  are  they  to  me  ? 
Wretch,  from  thy  virgin  breast  this  flame  expel, 
And  soon — O,  could  I,  all  would  then  be  well;        25 
But  love,  resistless  love,  my  soul  invades  ; 
Discretion  this,  affection  that  persuades. 
1  see  the  right,  and  I  approve  it  too ; 
Condemn  the  wrong,  and  yet  the  wrong  pursue. 
Why,  royal  maid,  shouldst  thou  desire  to  wed  30 

A  wanderer,  and  court  a  foreign  bed  1 
Thy  native  land,  though  barb'rous,  can  present 
A  bridegroom  worth  a  royal  bride's  consent; 


And  whether  this  advent'rer  lives  or  dies, 

In  fate,  and  fortune's  fickle  pleasure  lies.  35 

Yet  may  he  live  !  for  to  the  pow'rs  above, 

A  virgin  led  by  no  impulse  of  love, 

So  just  a  suit  may,  for  the  guiltless,  move. 

Whom  would  not  Jason's  valour,  youth,  and  blood 

Invite  1  or  could  these  merits  be  withstood,  40 

At  least  his  charming  person  must  incline 

The  hardest  heart — I'm  sure  'tis  so  with  mine! 

Yet,  if  I  help  him  not,  the  flaming  breath 

Of  bulls,  and  earth-born  foes,  must  be  his  death ; 

Or,  should  he  through  these  dangers  force  his  way, 

At  last  he  must  be  made  the  dragon's  prey.  46 

If  no  remorse  for  such  distress  I  feel, 

I  am  a  tigress,  and  my  breast  is  steel. 

Why  do  I  scruple  then  to  see  him  slain, 

And  with  the  tragic  scene  my  eyes  profane  ?  50 

By  magic's  art  employ,  not  to  assuage 

The  savages,  but  to  inflame  their  rage  1 

His  earth-born  foes  to  fiercer  fury  move, 

And  accessary  to  his  murder  prove? 

The  gods  forbid ! — But  pray'rs  are  idle  breath,  55 

When  action  only  can  prevent  his  death. 

Shall  I  betray  my  father,  and  the  state, 

To  intercept  a  rambling  hero's  fate ; 

Who  may  sail  off  nex.t  hour,  and  sav'd  from  hann? , 

By  my  assistance,  bless  another's  arms?  60 

Whilst  I,  not  only  of  my  hopes  bereft, 

But  to  unpity'd  punishment  am  left. 

If  he  is  false,  let  the  ungrateful  bleed! 

But  no  such  symptom  in  his  looks  I  read. 

Nature  would  ne'er  have  lavish'd  so  much  grace      65 

Upon  his  person,  if  his  soul  were  base. 

Besides,  he  first  shall  plight  his  faith,  and  swear 

By  all  the  gods;  what,  therefore,  canst  thou  fear? 

Medea,  haste,  from  danger  set  him  free, 

Jason  shall  thy  eternal  debtor  be ;  70 

And  thou,  his  queen,  with  sov'reign  state  install'd, 

By  Grecian  dames  the  kind  preserver  call'd. 

Hence,  idle  dreams,  by  love-sick  fancy  bred! 

Wilt  thou,  Medea,  by  vain  wishes  led, 

To  sister,  brother,  father  bid  adieu  1  75 


Forsake  thy  country's  gods,  and  country  too? 

My  father's  harsh,  my  brother  but  a  child, 

My  sister  rivals  me,  my  country's  wild ; 

And  for  its  gods,  the  greatest  of  them  all 

Inspires  my  breast,  and  I  obey  his  call.  80 

That  great  endearments  I  forsake,  is  true; 

But  greater  far  the  hopes  that  I  pursue  : 

The  pride  of  having  sav'd  the  youths  of  Greece 

(Each  life  more  precious  than  our  golden  fleece), 

A  nobler  soil  by  me  shall  be  possest,  85 

I  shall  see  towns  with  arts  and  manners  blest ; 

And,  what  I  prize  above  the  world  beside, 

Enjoy  my  Jason; — and,  when  once  his  bride, 

Be  more  than  mortal,  and  to  gods  allied. 

They  talk  of  hazards  I  must  first  sustain;  DO 

Of  floating  islands  justling  in  the  main ; 

Our  tender  bark  expos' d  to  dreadful  shocks 

Of  fierce  Charybdis'  gulf,  and  Scylla's  rocks, 

Where  breaking  waves  in  whirling  eddies  roll, 

And  rav'nous  dogs,  that  in  deep  caverns  howl :         95 

Amidst  these  terrors,  while  I  lie  possest 

Of  him  1  love,  and  lean  on  Jason's  breast, 

In  tempests  unconcern'd  I  will  appear, 

Or,  only  for  my  husband's  safety  fear. — 

Didst  thou  say  husband?  Canst  thou  so  deceive      100 

Thyself,  fond  maid,  and  thy  own  cheat  believe  ? 

In  vain  thou  striv'st  to  varnish  o'er  thy  shame, 

And  grace  thy  guilt  with  wedlock's  sacred  name. 

Pull  off  the  coz'ning  mask;  and  oh!  in  time 

Discover,  and  avoid  the  fatal  crime.  105 

She  ceas'd ;— the  Graces  now,  with  kind  surprise, 
And  virtue's  lovely  train,  before  her  eyes 
Present  themselves,  and  vanquish'd  Cupid  flies. 
She  then  retires  to  Hecate's  shrine,  that  stood 
Far  in  the  covert  of  a  shady  wood:  110 

She  finds  the  fury  of  her  flames  assuag'd, 
But,  seeing  Jason  there,  again  they  rag'd. 
Blushes  and  paleness  did  by  turns  invade 
Her  tender  cheeks,  and  secret  grief  betray'd. 
As  fire,  that  sleeping  under  ashes  lies,  115 

Fresh  blown,  and  rous'd,  does  up  in  blazes  rise, 
So  flamM  the  virgin's  breast, 


New  kindled  by  her  lover's  sparkling  eyes. 

For  chance,  that  day  had,  with  uncommon  grace, 

Adorn'd  the  lovely  youth,  and  through  his  face       120* 

Display 'd  an  air  so  pleasing,  as  might  charm 

A  goddess,  and  a  vestal's  bosom  warm. 

Her  ravish'd  eyes  survey  him  o'er  and  o'er, 

As  some  gay  wonder  never  seen  before  ; 

Transported  to  the  skies  she  seems  to  be,  125 

And  thinks  she  gazes  on  a  deity. 

But,  when  he  spoke,  and  press'd  her  trembling  hand, 

And  did  with  tender  words  her  aid  demand, 

With  vows,  and  oaths  to  make  her  soon  his  bride, 

She  wept  a  flood  of  tears,  and  thus  reply'd :  130 

I  see  my  error,  yet  to  ruin  move, 
Nor  owe  my  fate  to  ignorance,  but  love: 
Your  life  I'll  guard,  and  only  crave  of  you 
To  swear  once  more, — and  to  your  oath  be  true. 

He  swears  by  Hecate,  be  would  all  fulfil,  135 

And  by  her  grandfather's  prophetic  skill, 
By  ev'ry  thing  that  doubting  love  could  press, 
His  present  danger,  and  desir'd  success. 
She  credits  him,  and  kindly  does  produce 
Enchanted  herbs,  and  teaches  him  their  use;  140 

Their  mystic  names,  and  virtues  he  admires, 
And,  with  his  booty  joyfully  retires. 

Impatient  for  the  wonders  of  the  day, 
Aurora  drives  the  loit'ring  stars  away. 
Now  Mars's  Mount  the  pressing  people  fill,  145 

The  crowd  below,  the  nobles  crown  the  hill; 
The  king  himself  high  thron'd  above  the  rest, 
With  iv'ry  sceptre,  and  in  purple  drest. 

Forthwith  the  brass-hoof'd  bulls  are  set  at  large, 
Whose  furious  nostrils  sulph'rous  flame  discharge ; 
The  blasted  herbage  by  their  breath  expires;  151 

As  forges  rumble  with  excessive  fires, 
And  furnaces  with  fiercer  fury  glow, 
When  water  on  the  panting  mass  ye  throw ; 
With  such  a  noise  from  their  convulsive  breast,     155 
Thro'  bellowing  throats  the  struggling  vapour  press'd. 

Yet  Jason  marches  up,  without  concern, 
While  on  th'  advent'rous  youth  the  monsters  turn, 

BOOK  VII.  163 

Their  glaring  eyes,  and  eager  to  engage  159 

Brandish  their  steel-tipt  horns  in  threat'ning  rage : 
With  brazen  hoofs  they  beat  the  ground,  and  choke 
The  ambient  air,  with  clouds  of  dust  and  smoke : 
Each  gazing  Grecian  for  his  champion  shakes, 
While  bold  advances  he  securely  makes 
Through  singing  blasts;  such  wonders  magic  art    165 
Can  work,  when  love  conspires,  and  play3  his  part. 
The  passive  savages  like  statues  stand, 
While  he  their  dewlaps  strokes  with  soothing  hand  ; 
To  unknown  yokes  their  brawny  necks  they  yield, 
And,  like  tame  oxen,  plough  the  wond'ring  field.     17© 
The  Colchians  stare ;  the  Grecians  shout,  and  raise 
Their  champion's  courage  with  inspiring  praise. 
Embolden 'd  now,  on  fresh  attempts  he  goes, 
With  serpent's  teeth  the  fertile  furrows  sows ; 
The  glebe,  fermenting  with  enchanted  juice,  175 

Makes  the  snake's  teeth  a  human  crop  produce. 
For  as  an  infant,  pris'ner  to  the  womb, 
Contented  sleeps,  till  to  perfection  come, 
Then  does  the  cell's  obscure  confinement  scorn, 
He  tosses,  throbs,  and  presses  to  be  born ;  180 

So,  from  the  lab'ring  earth  no  single  birth, 
But  a  whole  troop  of  lusty  youths  rush  forth; 
And,  what's  more  strange,  with  martial  fury  warm'd, 
And  for  encounter  all  completely  arm'd ; 
In  rank  and  file,  as  they  were  sow'd,  they  stand,    185 
Impatient  for  the  signal  of  command. 
No  foe  but  the  yEmonian  youth  appears ; 
At  him  they  level  their  steel-pointed  spears; 
His  frighted  friends,  who  triumph'd  just  before, 
With  peals  of  sighs  his  desp'rate  case  deplore :        190 
And,  where  such  hardy  warriors  are  afraid, 
What  must  the  tender  and  enamour'd  maid  ? 
Her  spirits  sink,  the  blood  her  cheek  forsook, 
She  fears,  who  for  his  safety  undertook  : 
She  knew  the  virtue  of  the  spoils  she  gave,  195 

She  knew  their  force,  and  knew  her  lover  brave  ; 
But  what's  a  single  champion  to  a  host? 
Yet  scorning  thus  to  see  him  tamely  lost. 
Her  strong  reserve  of  secret  arts  she  brings, 
And  last,  her  never-failing  song  she  sings.  200 


Wonders  ensue;  among  his  gazing  foes 

The  massy  fragment  of  a  rock  he  throws ; 

This  charm  in  civil  war  engag'd  'em  all ; 

By  mutual  wounds  those  earth-born  brothers  fall. 

The  Greeks,  transported  with  the  strange  success, 

Leap  from  their  seats,  the  conqu'ror  to  caress;        206 

Commend  and  kiss,  and  clasp  him  in  their  arms : 

So  would  the  kind  contriver  of  the  charms; 

But  her,  who  felt  the  tenderest  concern, 

Honour  condemns  in  secret  flames  to  burn;  210 

Committed  to  a  double  guard  of  fame, 

Aw'd  by  a  virgin's,  and  a  princess'  name. 

But  thoughts  are  free,  and  fancy  unconfin'd, 

She  kisses,  courts,  and  hugs  him  in  her  mind ; 

To  fav'ring  pow'rs  her  silent  thanks  she  gives,        215 

By  whose  indulgence  her  lov'd  hero  lives. 

One  labour  more  remains,  and,  though  the  last, 
In  danger  far  surmounting  all  the  past; 
That  enterprize  by  fates  in  store  was  kept, 
To  make  the  dragon  sleep,  that  never  slept,  220 

Whose  crest  shoots  dreadful  lustre;  from  his  jaws 
A  triple  tire  of  forked  stings  he  draws, 
With  fangs,  and  wings  of  a  prodigious  size: 
Such  was  the  guardian  of  the  golden  prize. 
Yet  him,  besprinkled  with  Lethean  dew,  225 

The  fair  enchantress  into  slumber  threw ; 
And  then  to  fix  him,  thrice  she  did  repeat 
The  rhyme  that  makes  the  raging  winds  retreat; 
In  stormy  seas  can  halcyon  seasons  make, 
Turn  rapid  streams  into  a  standing  lake ;  230 

While  the  soft  guest  his  drowsy  eye-lids  seals, 
Th'  unguarded  golden  fleece  the  stranger  steals  ; 
Proud  to  possess  the  purchase  of  his  toil, 
Proud  of.his  royal  bride,  the  richer  spoil; 
To  sea  both  prize  and  patroness  he  bore,  235 

And  lands  triumphant  on  his  native  shore. 

./Emonian  matrons,  who  their  absence  mourn'd, 
Rejoice  to  see  their  prosp'rous  sons  return'd: 
Rich  curling  fumes  of  incense  feast  the  skies, 
An  hecatomb  of  voted  victims  dies,  240 

With  gilded  horns,  and  garlands  on  their  head, 

BOOK  YII.  135 

And  all  the  pomp  of  death,  to  th'  altar  led. 
Congratulating  bowls  go  briskly  round, 
Triumphant  shouts  in  louder  music  drown'd. 
Amidst  these  revels,  why  that  cloud  of  care  245 

On  Jason's  brow?  (to  whom  the  largest  share 
Of  mirth  was  due:) — His  father  was  not  there. 
iEson  was  absent,  once  the  young,  and  brave, 
Now  crush'd  with  years,  and  bending  to  the  grave. 
At  last  withdrawn,  and  by  the  crowd  unseen,         250 
(Pressing  her  hand,  with  starting  sighs  between), 
He  supplicates  his  kind  and  skilful  queen : 

O  patroness !  preserver  of  my  life ! 
(Dear  when  my  mistress,  and  much  dearer  wife,) 
Your  favours  to  so  vast  a  sum  amount,  255 

'Tis  past  the  pow'rs  of  numbers  to  recount; 
Or  could  they  be  to  cotnputation  brought, 
The  history  would  a  romance  be  thought : 
And  yet,  unless  you  add  one  favour  more, 
Greater  than  all  that  you  conferral  before,  260 

But  not  too  hard  for  love  and  magic  skill. 
Your  past  are  thrown  away,  and  Jason's  wretched  still. 
The  morning  of  my  life  is  just  begun ; 
But  my  declining  father's  race  is  run  : 
From  my  large  stock  retrench  the  long  arrears,       205 
And  add  them  to  expiring  iEson's  years. 

Thus  spake  the  gen'rous  youth,  and  wept  the  rest : 
Mov'd  with  the  piety  of  his  request, 
To  his  ag'd  sire  such  filial  duty  shewn, 
So  diff'rent  from  her  treatment  of  her  own,  270 

But  still  endeav'ring  her  remorse  to  hide, 
She  check'd  her  rising  sighs,  and  thus  reply'd  : 

How  could  the  thought  of  such  inhuman  wrong 
Escape  (said  she)  from  pious  Jason's  tongue? 
Does  the  whole  world  another  Jason  bear,  275 

Whose  life  Medea  can  to  yours  prefer? 
Or  could  I  with  so  dire  a  change  dispense, 
Hecate  will  never  join  in  that  offence  : 
Unjust  is  the  request  you  make,  and  I, 
In  kindness,  your  petition  shall  deny :  280 

Yet  she  that  grants  not  what  you  do  implore, 
Shall  yet  essay  to  give  her  Jason  more ; 


Find  means  t'  increase  the  stock  of  iEson's  years, 
Without  retrenchment  of  your  life's  arrears; 
Provided  that  the  triple  goddess  join  285 

A  strong  confed'rate  in  my  bold  design. 

Thus  was  her  enterprise  resolv'd :  but  still 
Three  tedious  nights  are  wanting  to  fulfil 
The  circling  crescents  of  th'  increasing  moon ; 
Then,  in  the  height  of  her  nocturnal  noon,  290 

Medea  steals  from  court ;  her  ancles  bare, 
Her  garments  closely  girt, but  loose  her  hair; 
Thus  sally'd,  like  a  solitary  sprite, 
She  traverses  the  terrors  of  the  night. 

Men, beasts,  and  birds  in  soft  repose  lay  charm'd,  295 
No  boist'rous  wind  the  mountain-woods  alarm'd; 
Nor  did  those  walks  of  love,  the  myrtle  trees, 
Of  am'rous  Zephyr  hear  the  whisp'ring  breeze ; 
All  elements  chain'd  in  unactive  rest, 
No  sense  but  what  the  twinkling  stars  express' d ;  300 
To  them  (that  only  wak'd)  she  rears  her  arms, 
And  thus  commences  her  mysterious  charms. 

She  turn'd  her  thrice  about,  as  oft  she  threw 
On  her  pale  tresses  the  nocturnal  dew ; 
Then,  yelling  thrice  a  most  enormous  sound,  305 

Her  bare  knee  bended  on  the  flinty  ground, 
O  night  (said  she),  thou  confident  and  guide 
Of  secrets,  such  as  darkness  ought  to  hide  ; 
Ye  stars  and  moon,  that  when  the  sun  retires, 
Support  his  empire  with  succeeding  fires;  310 

And  thou,  great  Hecate,  friend  to  my  design; 
Songs,  mutt'ring  spells,  your  magic  forces  join ; 
And  thou,  O  earth,  the  magazine  that  yields 
The  midnight  sorceror  drugs;  skies,  mountains,  fields; 
Ye  wat'ry  pow'rs  of  fountain,  stream,  and  lake ;     315 
Ye  sylvan  gods,  and  gods  of  night,  awake, 
And  gen'rously  your  parts  in  my  adventure  take ! 
Oft,  by  your  aid,  swift  currents  I  have  led 
Thro*  wand'ring  banks,  back  to  their  fountain  head ; 
Transform' d  the  prospect,  of  the  briny  deep,  320 

Made  sleeping  billows  rave,  and  raving  billows  sleep; 
Made  clouds,  or  sunshine ;  tempests  rise,  or  fall; 
And  stubborn  lawless  winds  obey  my  call : 

BOOK  VII.  167 

With  mutter'd  words  disarm'd  the  viper's  jaw, 

Up  by  the  roots  vast  oaks  and  rocks  could  draw;     325 

Made  forests  dance,  and  trembling  mountains  come, 

Like  malefactors  to  receive  their  doom  ; 

Earth  groan,  and  frighted  ghosts  forsake  their  tomb. 

Thee,  Cynthia,  my  resistless  rhymes  drew  down, 

When  tinkling  cymbals  strove  my  voice  to  drown  ; 

Nor  stronger  Titan  could  their  force  sustain,  331 

In  full  career  compell'd  to  stop  his  wain: 

Nor  could  Aurora's  virgin  blush  avail, 

With  pois'nous  herbs  I  turn'd  her  roses  pale ; 

The  fury  of  the  fiery  bulls  I  broke,  335 

Their  stubborn  necks  submitting  to  my  yoke ; 

And  when  the  sons  of  earth  with  fury  burn'd, 

Their  hostile  rage  upon  themselves  I  turn'd; 

The  brothers  made  with  mutual  wounds  to  bleed, 

And  by  their  fatal  strife,  my  lover  freed ;  340 

And,  while  the  dragon  slept,  to  distant  Greece, 

Through  cheated  guards  convey'd  the  golden  fleece  : 

But  now  to  bolder  action  I  proceed, 

Of  such  prevailing  juices  now  have  need, 

That  wither'd  years  back  to  their  bloom  can  bring, 

And  in  dead  winter  raise  a  second  spring.  346 

And  you'll  perform  't ; 

You  will :  for  lo !  the  stars  with  sparkling  fires, 
Presage  as  bright  success  to  my  desires : 
And  now  another  happy  omen  see !  350 

A  chariot  drawn  by  dragons,  waits  for  me. 

With  these  last  words,  she  leaps  into  the  wain, 
Strokes  the  snakes'  necks,  and  shakes  the  golden  rein. 
That  signal  giv'n,  they  mount  her  to  the  skies, 
And  now  beneath  her  fruitful  Tempe  lies,  355 

Whose  stores  she  ransacks,  then  to  Crete  she  flies; 
There  Os9a,  Pelion,  Othrys,  Pindus,  all 
To  the  fair  ravisher  a  booty  fall ; 
The  tribute  of  their  verdure  she  collects, 
Nor  proud  Olympus'  height  his  plants  protects.      3GQ 
Some  by  the  roots  she  plucks ;  the  tender  tops 
Of  others  with  her  culling  sickle  crops. 
Nor  could  the  plunder  of  the  hills  suffice, 
Down  to  the  humble  vales  and  meads  she  Mes ; 


Apidarnus,  Amphrysus,  the  next  rape  305 

Sustain,  nor  could  Enipeus'  banks  escape; 
Through  Beebe's  marsh,andthrough  the  border  rang'd, 
Whose  pasture  Glaucus  to  a  Triton  chang'd. 
.  Now  the  ninth  day,  and  ninth  successive  night, 
Had  wonder'd  at  the  restless  rover's  flight ;  370 

Meanwhile  her  dragons  fed  with  no  repast, 
But  her  exhaling  simples'  od'rous  blast, 
Their  tarnish'd  scales,  and  wrinkled  skins  had  cast. 
At  last  return'd  before  her  palace  gate, 
Quitting  her  chariot,  on  the  ground  she  sate,  375 

The  sky  her  only  canopy  of  state. 
All  conversation  with  her  sex  she  fled, 
Shunn'd  the  caresses  of  the  nuptial  bed  : 
Two  altars  next  of  grassy  turf  she  rears,  379 

This  Hecate's  name,  that  Youth's  inscription  bears : 
With  forest-boughs,  and  vervain  these  she  crown'd; 
Then  delves  a  double  trench  in  lower  ground, 
And  sticks  a  black-fleec'd  ram,  that  ready  stood, 
And  drench'd  the  ditches  with  devoted  blood :         384 
New  wine  she  pours,  and  milk  from  th'  udder 

With  mystic  murmurs  to  complete  the  charm, 
And  subterranean  deities  alarm. 
To  the  stern  king  of  ghosts  she  next  apply'd, 
And  gentle  Proserpine,  his  ravish'd  bride, 
That  for  old  JEsoa  with  the  laws  of  f..te  300 

They  would  dispense,  and  lengthen  his  short  date : 
Thus  with  repeated  pray'rs  she  long  assails 
Th'  infernal  tyrant,  and  at  last  prevails ; 
Then  calls  to  have  decrepit  iEson  brought, 
And  stupifies  him  with  a  sleeping  draught ;  396 

On  earth  his  body  like  a  corse  extends, 
Then  charges  Jason  and  his  waiting  friends 
To  quit  the  place,  that  no  unhallow'd  eye 
Into  her  arts  forbidden  secrets  pry. 
This  done,  th'  enchantress,  with  her  locks  unbound, 
About  her  altars  trips  a  frantic  round  ;  401 

Piece-meal  the  consecrated  wood  she  splits, 
And  dips  the  splinters  in  the  bloody  pits, 
Then  hurls 'em  on  the  piles;  the  sleeping  sire 
She  lustrates  thrice,  with  sulphur,  water,  fire.       405 

BOOK  VII.  169 

In  a  large  caldron  now  the  med'cine  boils, 
Compounded  of  her  late  collected  spoils, 
Blending  into  the  mash  the  various  pow'rs 
Of  wonder-working  juices,  roots,  and  flow'rs ; 
With  gems  i'  th'  eastern  ocean's  cell  refin'd,  410 

And  such  as  ebbing  tides  had  left  behind ; 
To  them  the  midnight's  pearly  dew  she  flings 
A  screech-owl's  carcase,  and  ill  boding  wings; 
Nor  could  the  wizard  wolf's  warm  entrails  'scape 
(That  wolf  who  counterfeits  a  human  shape).  415 

Then,  from  the  bottom  of  her  conj'ring  bag, 
Snakes'  skins,  and  liver  of  a  long-liv'd  stag; 
Last  a  crow's  head  to  such  an  age  arriv'd, 
That  he  had  now  nine  centuries  surviv'd ; 
These,  and  with  these  a  thousand  more  that  grew    420 
In  sundry  soils,  into  her  pot  she  threw; 
Then  with  a  wither'd  olive-bough  she  rakes 
The  bubbling  broth ;  the  bough,  fresh  verdure  takes ; 
Green  leaves  at  first  the  perish'd  plant  surround, 
Which  the  next  minute  with  ripe  fruit  were  crown'd. 
The  foaming  juices  now  the  brink  o'er-swell ;  426 

The  barren  heath,  where'er  the  liquor  fell, 
Sprang  out  with  vernal  grass,  and  all  the  pride 
Of  blooming  May. —  When  this,  Medea  spy'd, 
She  cuts  her  patient's  throat ;  th'  exhausted  blood 
Recruiting  with  her  new  enchanted  flood ;  431 

While  at  his  mouth,  and  through  his  op'ning  wound, 
A  double  inlet  her  infusion  found ; 
His  feeble  frame  resumes  a  youthful  air, 
A  glossy  brown  his  hoary  beard  and  hair,  435 

The  meagre  paleness  from  his  aspect  fled, 
And  in  its  room  sprang  up  a  florid  red ; 
Through  all  his  limbs  a  youthful  vigour  flies, 
His  emptied  art'ries  swell  with  fresh  supplies : 
Gazing  spectators  scarce  believe  their  eyes.  440 

But  iEson  is  the  most  surpris'd  to  find 
A  happy  change  in  body  and  in  mind  ; 
In  sense  and  constitution  the  same  man, 
As  when  his  fortieth  active  year  began. 

Bacchus,  who  from  the  clouds  this  wonder  view'd, 
Medea's  method  instantly  pursu'd,  446 

And  his  indulgent  nurse's  youth  renew'd. 


Thus  far  obliging  love  employ'd  her  art, 
But  now  revenge  must  act  a  tragic  part. 
Medea  feigns  a  mortal  quarrel  bred  450 

Betwixt  her  and  the  partner  of  her  bed ; 
On  this  pretence,  to  Pelias'  court  she  flies, 
Who  languishing  with  age  and  sickness  lies: 
His  guiltless  daughters,  with  inveigling  wiles, 
And  well-dissembled  friendship  she  beguiles :  455 

The  strange  achievements  of  her  art  she  tells, 
With  yEson's  cure,  and  long  on  that  she  dwells, 
Till  them  to  firm  persuasion  she  has  won, 
The  same  for  their  old  father  may  be  done  : 
For  him  they  court  her  to  employ  her  skill,  460 

And  put  upon  the  cure  what  price  she  will. 
At  fust  she's  mute,  and  with  a  grave  pretence 
Of  difficulty,  holds  them  in  suspense; 
Then  promises,  and  bids  them  from  the  fold 
Choose  out  a  ram,  the  most  infirm  and  old ;  4G5 

That  so  by  fact  their  doubts  may  be  remov'd, 
And  first,  on  him,  the  operation  prov'd. 

A  wreath-horn'd  ram  is  brought,  so  far  o'ergrowu 
With  years,  his  age  was  to  that  age  unknown  ; 
Of  sense  too  dull  the  piercing  point  to  feel,  470 

And  scarce  sufficient  blood  to  stain  the  steel. 
His  carcase  she  into  a  caldron  threw, 
With  drugs  whose  vital  qualities  she  knew ; 
His  limbs  grew  less,  he  casts  his  horns  and  years, 
And  tender  bleating  strike  their  wond'ring  ears.     475 
Then  instantly  leaps  forth  a  frisking  lamb, 
That  seeks  (too  young  to  graze)  a  suckling  dam. 
The  sisters,  thus  confirm'd  v  ith  the  success, 
Her  promise  with  renew'd  entreaty  press; 
To  countenance  the  cheat,  three  nights  and  days    480 
Before  experiment  th'  enchantress  stays ; 
Then  into  limpid  water,  from  the  springs, 
Weeds,  and  ingredients  of  no  force  she  flings; 
With  antique  ceremonies  for  pretence, 
And  rambling  rhymes  without  a  word  of  sense.      485 
Meanwhile  the  king  with  all  his  guards  lay  bound 
In  magic  sleep,  scarce  that  of  death  so  sound ; 
The  daughters  now  are  by  the  sorceress  led 
Into  his  chamber,  and  surround  his  bed. 

BOOK  VII.  171 

Your  father's  health's  concern'd,  and  can  ye  stay  1 490 

Unnat'ral  nymphs,  why  this  unkind  delay? 

Unsheath  your  swords,  dismiss  his  lifeless  blood, 

And  I'll  recruit  it  with  a  vital  flood : 

Your  father's  life  and  health  are  in  your  hand, 

And  can  ye  thus,  like  idle  gazers  stand?  495 

Unless  you  are  of  common  sense  bereft, 

If  yet  one  spark  of  piety  is  left, 

Dispatch  a  father's  cure,  and  disengage 

The  monarch  from  his  toilsome  load  of  age: 

Come,  drench  your  weapons  in  his  putrid  gore  ;       500 

Tis  charity  to  wound,  when  wounding  will  restore. 

Thus  urg'd,  the  poor  deluded  maids  proceed, 
Betray'd  by  zeal  to  an  inhuman  deed, 
And,  in  compassion,  make  a  father  bleed. 
Yes,  she  who  had  the  kindest,  tend'rest  heart,        505 
Is  foremost  to  perform  the  bloody  part. 

Yet,  though  to  act  the  butchery  betray'd, 
They  could  not  bear  to  see  the  wounds  they  made; 
With  looks  averted,  backward  they  advance, 
Then  strike,  and  stab,  and  leave  the  blows  to  chance. 

Waking  in  consternation,  he  essays  511 

(Welt'ring  in  blood)  his  feeble  arms  to  raise: 
Envirou'd  with  so  many  swords —  From  whence 
This  barb'rous  usage  ?  What  js  my  offence  ? 
What  fatal  fury,  what  infernal  charm,  515 

'Gainst  a  kind  father  does  his  daughters  arm? 

Hearing  his  voice,  as  thunder-struck,  they  stopp'd 
Their  resolution,  and  their  weapons  dropp'd : 
Medea  then  the  mortal  blow  bestows, 
And,  that  perform'd,  the  tragic  scene  to  close,         520 
His  corse  into  the  boiling  caldron  throws. 

Then,  dreading  the  revenge  that  must  ensue, 
High  mounted  on  her  dragon-coach  she  flew ; 
And  in  her  stately  progress  through  the  skies, 
Beneath  her  shady  Pelion  first  she  spies,  525 

With  Othrys,  that  above  the  clouds  did  rise; 
With  skilful  Chiron's  cave,  and  neighb'ring  ground, 
For  old  Cerambus'  strange  escape  renown'd, 
By  nymphs  deliver'd,  when  the  world  was  drown'd ; 
Who  him  with  unexpected  wings  supply'd,  530 

When  delug'd  hills  a  safe  retreat  deny'd. 


iEolian  Pitane  on  her  left  hand 

She  saw,  and  there  the  statued  dragon  stand; 

With  Ida's  grove,  where  Bacchus,  to  disguise 

His  son's  bold  theft,  and  to  secure  the  prize,  635 

Made  the  stol'n  steer  a  stag  to  represent 

Cocytus'  father's  sandy  monument ; 

And  fields  that  held  the  murder'd  sire's  remains, 

Where  howling  Msera  frights  the  startled  plains. 

Euryphilus'  high  town,  with  tow'rs  defac'd  540 

By  Hercules,  and  matrons  more  disgrac'd 

With  sprouting  horns,  in  signal  punishment, 

From  Juno,  or  resenting  Venus  sent. 

Then  Rhodes,  which  Phcebus  did  so  dearly  prize, 

And  Jove  no  less  severely  did  chastise ;  545 

For  he  the  wizard  native's  pois'ning  sight, 

That  us'd  the  farmer's  hopeful  crops  to  blight, 

In  rage  o'erwhelm'd  with  everlasting  night. 

Carthe'ia's  ancient  walls  come  next  in  view, 

Where  once  the  sire  almost  a  stature  grew  550 

With  wonder,  which  a  strange  event  did  move, 

His  daughter  turn'd  into  a  turtle-dove. 

Then  Hyrie's  lake,  and  Tempe's  field  o'er-ran, 

Fam'd  for  the  boy  who  there  became  a  swan ; 

For  there  enamour'd  Phyllius,  like  a  slave,  555 

Perform'd  what  tasks  his  paramour  would  crave. 

For  presents  he  had  mountain-vultures  caught, 

And  from  the  desert  a  tame  lion  brought; 

Then  a  wild  bull  commanded  to  subdue, 

The  conquer'd  savage  by  the  horns  he  drew;  560 

But,  mock'd  so  oft,  the  treatment  he  disdains, 

And  from  the  craving  boy  this  prize  detains. 

Then  thus  in  choler  the  resenting  lad  : 

Won't  you  deliver  him?  you'll  wish  you  had: 

Nor  sooner  said,  but,  in  a  peevish  mood,  5C5 

Leapt  from  the  precipice  on  which  he  stood  : 

The  standers  by  were  struck  with  fresh  surprise, 

Instead  of  falling,  to  behold  him  rise 

A  snowy  swan,  and  soaring  to  the  skies. 

But  dearly  the  rash  prank  his  mother  cost,  570 

Who  ignorantly  gave  her  son  for  lost ; 
For  his  misfortune  wept,  till  she  became 
A  lake,  and  still  renown'd  with  Hyrie's  name. 

BOOK  VII.  173 

Thence  to  Latona's  isle,  where  once  was  seen, 
Transform'*!  to  birds,  a  monarch,  and  his  queen.    575 
Far  off  she  saw  how  old  Cephisus  mourn'd 
His  son,  into  a  seal  by  Phoebus  turn'd; 
And  where,  astonish'd  at  a  stranger  sight, 
Eumelus  gaz'd  on  his  wing'd  daughter's  flight. 

iEtolian  Pleuron  she  did  next  survey,  580 

Where  sons  a  mother's  murder  did  essay, 
But  sudden  plumes  the  matron  bore  away. 
On  her  right  hand,  Cyllene,  a  fair  soil, 
Fair,  till  Menephron  there  the  beauteous  hill 
Attempted  with  foul  incest  to  defile.  585 

Her  harness'd  dragons  now  direct  she  drives 
For  Corinth,  and  at  Corinth  she  arrives ; 
Where,  if  what  old  tradition  tells  be  true, 
In  former  ages  men  from  mushrooms  grew. 

But  here  Medea  finds  her  bed  supplied,  590 

During  her  absence,  by  another  bride ; 
And  hopeless  to  recover  her  lost  game, 
She  sets  both  bride  and  palace  in  a  flame. 
Nor  could  a  rival's  death  her  wrath  assuage, 
Nor  stopp'd  at  Creon's  family  her  rage;  595 

She  murders  her  own  infants,  in  despite 
To  faithless  Jason,  and  in  Jason's  sight; 
Yet  ere  his  sword  could  reach  her,  up  she  springs, 
Securely  mounted  on  her  dragon's  wings. 

From  hence  to  Athens  she  directs  her  flight,        600 
Where  Phineus,  so  renown'd  for  doing  right; 
Where  Periphas,  and  Polyphemon's  niece, 
Soaring  with  sudden   plumes,  amaz'd  the  towns  of 

Here  ^Egeus  so  engaging  she  address'd,       [Greece. 
That  first  he  treats  her  like  a  royal  guest :  605 

Then  takes  the  sorceress  for  his  wedded  wife  ; 
The  only  blemish  of  his  prudent  life. 

Meanwhile  his  son,  from  actions  of  renown, 
Arrives  at  court,  but  to  his  sire  unknown. 
Medea,  to  dispatch  a  dang'rous  heir  610 

(She  knew  him),  did  a  pois'nous  draught  prepare; 
Drawn  from  a  drug,  was  long  reserved  in  store 
For  desp'rate  uses,  from  the  Scythian  shore; 
That  from  the  Echydnsean  monster's  jaws 
Deriv'd  its  origin,  and  this  the  cause.  615 


Through  a  dark  cave  a  craggy  passage  lies, 
To  ours,  ascending  from  the  nether  skies; 
Through  which,  by  strength  of  hand,  Alcides  drew 
Chain'd  Cerberus,  who  lagg'd,  and  restive  grew, 
With  his  blear'd  eyes  our  brighter  day  to  view.      620 
Thrice  he  repeated  his  enormous  yell, 
With  which  he  scares  the  ghosts,  and  startles  hell; 
At  last  outrageous  (though  compell'd  to  yield) 
He  sheds  his  foam  in  fury  on  the  field ; 
Which,  with  its  own,  and  rankness  of  the  ground,  625 
Produc'd  a  weed,  by  sorcerers  renown'd, 
The  strongest  constitution  to  confound ; 
Call'd  Aconite,  because  it  can  unlock 
All  bars,  and  force  its  passage  through  a  rock. 

The  pious  father,  by  her  wheedles  won,  630 

Presents  this  deadly  potion  to  his  son ; 
Who,  with  the  same  assurance,  takes  the  cup, 
And  to  the  monarch's  health  had  drank  it  up, 
But  in  the  very  instant  he  apply'd 
The  goblet  to  his  lips,  old  iEgeus  spy'd  635 

The  iv'ry  hilted  sword  that  grac'd  his  side. 
The  certain  signal  of  his  son  he  knew, 
And  snatch'd  the  bowl  away  ;  the  sword  he  drew, 
Resolv'd,  for  such  a  son's  endanger'd  life, 
To  sacrifice  the  most  perfidious  wife.  640 

Revenge  is  swift,  but  her  more  active  charms 
A  whirlwind  rais'd,  that  snatch'd  her  from  his  arms. 
While  conjur'd  clouds  their  baffled  sense  surprise, 
She  vanishes  from  their  deluded  eyes, 
And  through  the  hurricane  triumphant  flies.  645 

The  gen'rous  king,  although  o'erjoy'd  to  find 
His  son  was  safe,  yet  bearing  still  in  mind 
The  mischief  by  his  ti-each'rous  queen  design'd; 
The  horror  of  the  deed,  and  then  how  near 
The  danjrer  drew,  he  stands  congealM  with  fear.     G50 
But  soon  that  fear  into  devotion  turns, 
With  grateful  incense  ev'ry  altar  burns; 
Proud  victims!  and  unconscious  of  their  fate, 
Stalk  to  the  temple,  there  to  die  in  state. 
In  Athens  never  had  a  day  been  found  655 

For  mirth,  like  that  grand  festival,  renown'd. 
Promiscuously  the  peers  and  people  dine, 

BOOK  VII.  175 

Promiscuously  their  thankful  voices  join, 

In  songs  of  wit,  sublim'd  by  sprightly  wine. 

To  list'ning  spheres  their  joint  applause  they  raise,  060 

And  thus  resound  their  matchless  Theseus'  praise : 

'  Great  Theseus !  thee  the  Marathonian  plain 
Admires,  and  wears  with  pride  their  noble  stain 
Of  the  dire  monster's  blood,  by  valiant  Theseus  slain  ; 
That  now  Cromyon's  swains  in  safety  sow,  G65 

And  reap  their  fertile  field,  to  thee  they  owe, 
By  thee  th*  infested  Epidaurian  coast 
Was  clear'd,  and  now  can  a  free  commerce  boast. 
The  traveller  his  journey  can  pursue, 
With  pleasure  the  late  dreaded  valley  view,  670 

And  cry,  Here  Theseus  the  grand  robber  slew. 
Cephysus'  flood  cries  to  his  rescu'd  shore, 
The  merciless  Procrustes  is  no  more. 
In  peace,  Eleusis,  Ceres'  rites  renew, 
Since  Theseus'  sword  the  fierce  Cercyon  slew.        675 
By  him  the  tort'rer  Sinis  was  destroy'd, 
Of  strength  (but  strength  to  barb'rous  use  employ'd) 
That  tops  of  tallest  pines  to  earth  could  bend, 
And  thus,  in  pieces,  wretched  captives  rend. 
Inhuman  Scyron  now  has  breath'd  his  last,  680 

And  now  Alcatho's  road's  securely  past, 
By  Theseus  slain,  and  thrown  into  the  deep: 
But  earth  nor  sea  his  scatter'd  bones  would  keep, 
Which,  after  floating  long,  a  rock  became, 
Still  infamous  with  Scyron's  hated  name.  685 

When  fame  to  count  thy  acts  and  years  proceeds, 
Thy  years  appear  but  ciphers  to  thy  deeds. 
For  thee,  brave  youth,  as  for  our  common  wealth, 
We  pray  ;  and  drink,  in  yours,  the  public  health. 
Your  praise  the  senate,  and  plebeians  sing;  690 

With  your  lov'd  name  the  court  and  cottage  ring. 
You  make  our  shepherds  and  our  sailors  glad, 
And  not  a  house  in  this  vast  city's  sad.' 

But  mortal  bliss  will  never  come  sincere, 
Pleasure  may  lead,  but  grief  brings  up  the  rear;     605 
While  for  his  son's  arrival,  rev'ling  joy 
iEgeus,  and  all  his  subjects,  does  employ; 
While  they  for  only  costly  feasts  prepare, 
His  neighb'ring  monarch,  Minos,  threatens  war : 


Weak  in  land  forces,  nor  by  sea  more  strong,  700 

But  pow'rful  in  a  deep-resented  wrong 

For  a  son's  murder,  arm'd  with  pious  rage ; 

Yet  prudently,  before  he  would  engage, 

To  raise  auxiliaries  resolv'd  to  sail, 

And  wish  the  pow'rful  princes  to  prevail.  705 

First  Anaphe,  then  proud  Astypala?a  gains, 
By  presents  that,  and  this  by  threats  obtains. 
Low  Mycone,  Cymolus,  chalky  soil, 
Tall  Cythnos,  Scyros,  flat  Seriphos'  isle; 
Paros,  with  marble  cliffs  afar  display'd;  710 

Impregnable  Sithonia ;  yet  betray'd 
To  a  weak  foe,  by  a  gold-admiring  maid, 
Who,  chang'd  into  a  daw  of  sable  hue, 
•Still  hoards  up  gold,  and  hides  it  from  the  view. 

But  as  these  islands  cheerfully  combine,  715 

Others  refuse  t'  embark  in  his  design. 
Now  leftward  with  an  easy  sail  he  bore, 
And  prosp'rous  passage  to  CEnopia's  shore; 
OSnopia  once,  but  now  iEgina  call'd, 
And  with  his  royal  mother's  name  install'd  720 

By  iEacus,  under  whose  reign  did  spring 
The  Myrmidojus,  and  now  their  reigning  king. 

Down  to  the  port,  amidst  the  rabble,  run 
The  princes  of  the  blood ;  with  Telamon, 
Peleus  the  next,  and  Phocus,  the  third  son :  725 

Then  iEacus,  although  opprest  with  years, 
To  ask  the  cause  of  their  approach  appears. 

That  question  does  the  Gnossian's  grief  renew, 
And  sighs  from  his  afflicted  bosom  drew; 
Yet  after  a  short,  solemn  respite  made,  730 

The  ruler  of  the  hundred  cities  said : 

Assist  our  arms,  rais'd  for  a  murder'd  son, 
In  this  religious  war  no  risk  you'll  run  : 
Revenge  the  dead : — for,  who  refuse  to  give 
Rest  to  their  urns,  unworthy  are  to  live,  735 

What  you  request  (thus  yEacus  replies), 
Not  I,  but  truth  and  common  faith  denies: 
Athens  and  we  have  long  been  sworn  allies; 
Our  leagues  are  fix'd,  confed'rate  are  our  pow'rs, 
And  who  declare  themselves  their  foes,  are  ours.    740 

Minos  rejoins,  Your  league  shall  dearly  cost; 

BOOK  VII.  177 

Yet  (mindful  how  much  safer  'twas  to  boast, 

Than  there  to  waste  his  forces  and  his  fame, 

Before  in  field  with  his  grand  foe  he  came), 

Parts  without  blows; — nor  long  had  left  the  shore, 

Ere  into  port  another  navy  bore,  74G 

With  Cephalus,  and  all  his  jolly  crew  : 

Th'  iEacides  their  old  acquaintance  knew ; 

The  princes  bid  him  welcome,  and,  in  state, 

Conduct  the  hero  to  their  palace  gate  ;  750 

Who,  ent'ring,  seem'd  the  charming  mien  to  wear, 

As  when  in  youth  he  paid  his  visit  there. 

In  his  right  hand  an  olive-branch  he  holds. 

And,  salutation  past,  the  chief  unfolds 

His  embassy  from  the  Athenian  state,  755 

Their  mutual  friendship,  leagues  of  ancient  date  ; 

Their  common  danger,  ev'ry  thing  could  wake 

Concern,  and  his  address  successful  make  : 

Strength'ning  his  plea  with  all  the  charms  of  sense, 

And  those  with  all  the  charms  of  eloquence.  760 

Then  thus  the  king  :  Like  suitors  do  you  stand 
For  that  assistance  which  you  may  command  ? 
Athenians,  all  our  listed  forces  use 
(They're  such  as  no  bold  service  will  refuse)  ; 
And  when  y'  have  drawn  them  off,  the  gods  be  prais'd. 
Fresh  legions  can  within  our  isle  be  rais'd  :  7CG 

So  stock'd  with  people,  that  we  can  prepare 
Both  for  domestic  and  for  distant  war, 
Ours,  or  our  friends'  insulters  to  chastise. 
Long  may  ye  flourish  thus,  the  prince  replies.        770 
Strange  transport  seiz'd  me  as  I  pass'd  along, 
To  meet  so  many  troops,  and  all  so  young, 
As  if  your  army  did  of  twins  consist ; 
Yet  amongst  them  my  late  acquaintance  missM : 
E'en  all  that  to  your  palace  did  resort,  775 

When  first  you  entertained  me  at  your  court ; 
» And  cannot  guess  the  cause  from  whence  could  spring 
So  vast  a  change. — Then  thus  the  sighing  king : 

Illustrious  guest,  to  my  strange  tale  attend, 
Of  sad  beginning,  but  a  joyful  end ;  780 

The  whole  to  a  vast  history  would  swell, 
I  shall  but  half,  and  that  confus'dly,  tell. 
That  race  whom  so^^e  ervMly  you  admir'd, 


Are  all  into  their  silent  tombs  retir'd  : 

They  fell;  and  falling,  how  they  shook  my  state,  785 

Thought  may  conceive,  but  words  can  ne'er  relate. 

A  dreadful  plague  from  angry  Juno  came, 
To  scourge  the  land,  that  bore  her  rival's  name  ; 
Before  her  fatal  anger  was  reveal'd, 
And  teeming  malice  lay  as  yet  conceal'd.  790 

All  remedies  we  try,  all  med'cines  use, 
Which  nature  could  supply,  or  art  produce : 
Th'  unconquer'd  foe  derides  the  vain  design, 
And  art,  and  nature  foil'd,  declare  the  cause  divine. 
At  first  we  only  felt  th'  oppressive  weight  795 

Of  gloomy  clouds,  then  teeming  with  our  fate, 
And  lab'ring  to  discharge  inactive  heat : 
But  ere  four  moons  alternate  changes  knew, 
With  deadly  blasts  the  fatal  south-wind  blew, 
Infected  all  the  air,  and  poison'd  as  it  flew.  800 

Our  fountains,  too,  a  dire  infection  yield, 
For  crowds  of  vipers  creep  along  the  field, 
And,  with  polluted  gore,  and  baneful  steams, 
Taint  all  the  lakes,  and  venom  all  the  streams. 

The  young  disease  with  milder  force  began,         805 
And  rag'd  on  birds,  and  beasts,  excusing  man. 
The  lab'ring  oxen  fall  before  the  plough, 
Th'  unhappy  ploughmen  stare  and  wonder  how : 
The  tabid  sheep,  with  sickly  bleatings,  pines; 
Its  wool  decreasing,  as  its  strength  declines  :  810 

The  warlike  steed,  by  inward  foes  compell'd, 
Neglects  his  honours,  and  deserts  the  field; 
Unnerv'd  and  languid,  seeks  a  base  retreat, 
And  at  the  manger  groans,  but  wish'd  a  nobler  fate  : 
The  stags  forget  their  speed,  the  boars  their  rage,  815 
Nor  can  the  bears  the  stronger  herds  engage : 
A  gen'ral  faintness  does  invade  'em  all, 
And  in  the  woods  and  fields  promiscuously  they  fall. 
The  air  receives  the  stench,  and  (strange  to  say) 
The  rav'nous  birds  and  beasts  avoid  the  prey  :         820 
Th'  offensive  bodies  rot  upon  the  ground, 
And  spread  the  dire  contagion  all  around. 

But  now  the  plague,  grown  to  a  larger  size, 
Riots  on  man,  and  scorns  a  meaner  prize. 

BOOK  VII.  179 

Intestine  heats  begin  the  civil  war,  825 

And  flushings  first  the  latent  flame  declare, 
And  breath  inspir'd,  which  seem'd  like  fiery  aiT. 
Their  black  dry  tongues  are  swell'd,  and  scare  can 

And  short  thick  sighs  from  panting  lungs  are  drove. 
They  gape  for  air,  with  flatt'ring  hopes  t'  abate      830 
Their  raging  flames,  but  that  augments  their  heat. 
No  bed,  no  cov'ring  can  the  wretches  bear, 
But  on  the  ground  expos'd  to  open  air, 
They  lie,  and  hope  to  find  a  pleasing  coolness  there. 
The  suff  'ring  earth,  with  that  oppression  curst,      835 
Returns  the  heat  which  they  imparted  first. 

In  vain  physicians  would  bestow  their  aid, 
Vain  all  their  art,  and  useless  all  their  trade ; 
And  they,  e'en  they,  who  fleeting  life  recall, 
Feel  the  same  pow'rs,  and,  undistinguish'd,  fall.    840 
If  any  proves  so  daring  to  attend 
His  sick  companion,  or  his  darling  friend, 
Th'  officious  wretch  sucks  in  contagious  breath, 
And,  with  his  friend,  does  sympathize  in  death. 

And  now  the  care  and  hopes  of  life  are  past,       845 
They  please  their  fancies,  and  indulge  their  taste ; 
At  brooks  and  streams,  regardless  of  their  shame, 
Each  sex,  promiscuous,  strives  to  quench  their  flame ; 
Nor  do  they  strive  in  vain  to  quench  it  there, 
For  thirst  and  life,  at  once,  extinguish'd  are.  850 

Thus  in  the  brooks  the  dying  bodies  sink, 
But,  heedless,  still  the  rash  survivors  drink. 

So  much  uneasy  down  the  wretches  hate, 
They  fly  their  beds  to  struggle  with  their  fate ; 
But  if  decaying  strength  begins  to  rise,  855 

The  victim  crawls  and  rolls,  till  on  the  ground  he  lies. 
Each  shuns  his  bed,  as  each  would  shun  his  tomb, 
And  thinks  th'  infection  only  lodg'd  at  home. 

Here  one,  with  fainting  steps,  does  slowly  creep 
O'er  heaps  of  dead,  and  straight  augments  a  heap ;  SGO 
Another,  while  his  strength  and  tongue  prevail'd, 
Bewails  his  friend,  and  falls  himself  bewail'd : 
This,  with  imploring  looks,  surveys  the  skies, 
The  last  dear  office  of  his  closing  eyes ; 
But  finds  the  heav'ns  implacable,  and  dies.  865 


What  now,  ah !  what  employ'd  my  troubled  mind? 
But  only  hopes  rny  subjects'  fate  to  find. 
What  place  soe'er  ray  weeping  eyes  survey, 
There,  in  lamented  heaps,  tbe  vulgar  lay; 
As  acorns  scatter  when  the  winds. prevail,  870 

Or  mellow  fruit  from  shaken  branches  fall. 

You  see  that  dome  which  rears  its  front  so  high  : 
'Tis  sacred  to  the  monarch  of  the  sky  : 
How  many  there,  with  unregarded  tears, 
And  fruitless  vows,  sent  up  successless  pray'rs !      875 
There  fathers  for  expiring  sons  implor'd, 
And  there  the  wife  bewail'd  her  gasping  lord; 
With  pious  off'rings,  they'd  appease  the  skies, 
But  they,  ere  yet  th'  atoning  vapours  rise, 
Before  the  altars  fall,  themselves  a  sacrifice ;  880 

They  fall,  while  yet  their  hands  the  gums  contain, 
The  gums  surviving,  but  their  off'rers  slain. 

The  destin'd  ox,  with  holy  garlands  crown'd, 
Prevents  the  blow,  and  feels  th'  expected  wound : 
When  I  myself  invok'd  the  pow'rs  divine,  885 

To  drive  the  fatal  pest  from  me  and  mine ; 
When  now  the  priest  with  hands  uplifted  stood, 
Prepar'd  to  strike,  and  shed  the  sacred  blood, 
The  gods  themselves  the  mortal  stroke  bestow, 
The  victim  falls,  but  they  impart  the  blow  :  890 

Scarce  was  the  knife  with  the  pale  purple  stain'd, 
And  no  presages  could  be  then  obtain'd, 
From  putrid  entrails,  where  th'  infection  reign'd. 

Death  stalk'd  .around  with  such  resistless  sway, 
The  temples  of  the  gods  his  force  obey,  895 

And  suppliants  feel  his  stroke,  while  yet  they  pray. 
Go  now  (said  he),  your  deities  implore 
For  fruitless  aid,  for  I  defy  their  pow'r. 
Then,  with  a  curst,  malicious  joy,  survey'd 
The  very  altars,  stain'd  with  trophies  of  the  dead.  900 

The  rest  grown  mad,  and  frantic  with  despair, 
Urge  their  own  fate,  and  so  prevent  the  fear. 
Strange  madness  that,  when  death  pursu'd  so  fast, 
T'  anticipate  the  blow,  with  impious  haste ! 

No  decent  honours  to  their  urns  are  paid,  905 

Nor  could  the  graves  receive  the  num'rous  dead ; 
For,  as  they  lay  unbury'd  on  the  ground, 

BOOK  VII.  181 

Or  unadorn'd  a  needy  fun'ral  found: 

All  rev'rence  past,  the  fainting  wretches  fight 

For  fun'ral  piles  which  were  another's  right.  910 

Unmourn'd  they  fall ;  for  who  surviv'd  to  mourn  ? 
And  sires,  and  mothers,  unlamented  burn  : 
Parents  and  sons  sustain  an  equal  fate, 
And  wand'ring  ghosts  their  kindred  shadows  meet. 
The  dead  a  larger  space  of  ground  require,  915 

Nor  are  the  trees  sufficient  for  the  fire. 

Despairing  under  grief's  oppressive  weight, 
And  sunk  by  these  tempestuous  blasts  of  fate, 
O  Jove  (said  I),  if  common  fame  says  true, 
If  e'er  JEgina  gave  those  joys  to  you,  920 

If  e'er  you  lay  enclos'd  in  her  embrace, 
Fond  of  her  charms,  and  eager  to  possess; 
O  father,  if  you  do  not  yet  disclaim 
Paternal  care,  nor  yet  disown  the  name  ; 
Grant  my  petitions,  and  with  speed  restore  925 

My  subjects  num'rous  as  they  were  before, 
Or  make  me  partner  of  the  fate  they  bore. 

I  spoke;  and  glorious  lightning  shone  around, 
And  rattling  thunder  gave  a  prosp'rous  sound  : 
So  let  it  be,  and  may  these  omens  prove  930 

A  pledge  (said  I)  of  3'our  returning  love. 

By  chance  a  rev'rend  oak  was  near  the  place, 
Sacred  to  Jove,  and  of  Dodona's  race ; 
Where  frugal  ants  laid  up  their  winter  meat, 
Whose  little  bodies  bear  a  mighty  weight:  935 

We  saw  them  march  along,  and  hide  their  store, 
And  much  admir'd  their  number,  and  their  pow'r; 
Admir'd  at  first,  but  after  envy'd  more. 

Full  of  amazement,  thus  to  Jove  I  pray'd: 
O  grant,  since  thus  my  subjects  are  decay'd,  940 

As  many  subjects  to  supply  the  dead ! 

1  pray'd,  and  strange  convulsions  mov'd  the  oak, 
Which  murmur'd,  though  by  ambient  winds  unshook  : 
My  trembling  hands,  and  stiff  erected  hair, 
Express'd  all  tokens  of  uncommon  fear;  945 

Yet  both  the  earth  and  sacred  oak  I  kiss'd, 
And  scarce  could  hope,  yet  still  I  hop'd  the  best : 
For  wretches,  whatsoe'er  the  fates  divine, 
Expound  all  omens  to  their  own  design. 


But  now  'twas  night,  when  e'en  distraction  wears 
A  pleasing  look,  and  dreams  heguile  our  cares.       951 
Lo  !  the  same  oak  appears  before  mine  eyes, 
Nor  alter'd  in  its  shape,  nor  former  size  ; 
As  many  ants  the  num'rous  branches  bear, 
The  same  their  labour  and  their  frugal  care ;  955 

The  branches  too,  a  like  commotion  found, 
And  shook  th'  industrious  creatures  on  the  ground, 
Who,  by  degress  (what's  scarce  to  be  believ'd), 
A  nobler  form  and  larger  bulk  receiv'd, 
And  on  the  earth  walk  an  unusual  pace,  960 

With  manly  strides  and  an  erected  face ; 
Their  num'rous  legs,  and  former  colour  lost, 
The  insects  could  a  human  figure  boast. 

I  wake,  and,  waking,  find  my  cares  again, 
And  to  the  unperforming  gods  complain,  965 

And  call  their  promise  and  pretences  vain. 
Yet  in  my  court  I  heard  the  murm'ring  voice 
Of  strangers,  and  a  mixt  uncommon  noise : 
But  I  suspected  all  was  still  a  dream, 
Till  Telamon  to  my  apartment  came,  970 

Op'ning  the  door  with  an  impetuous  haste ; 

0  come  (said  he),  and  see  your  faith  and  hopes  sur- 

past : 

1  follow,  and,  confus'd  with  wonder,  view 
Those  shapes  which  my  presaging  slumbers  drew: 

I  saw,  and  own'd,  and  call'd  them  subjects;  they  975 

Confess'd  my  pow'r,  submissive  to  my  sway. 

To  Jove,  restorer  of  my  race  decay'd, 

My  vows  were  first  with  due  oblations  paid ; 

I  then  divide,  wifhTan  impartial  hand, 

My  empty  city,  and  my  ruin'd  land,  980 

To  give  the  new-born  youth  an  equal  share, 

And  call'd  them  Myrmidons  from  what  they  were. 

You  saw  their  persons,  and  they  still  retain 

The  thrift  of  ants,  though  now  transform'd  to  men. 

A  frugal  people,  and  inur'd  to  sweat,  985 

Lab'ring  to  gain,  and  keeping  what  they  get. 

These,  equal  both  in  strength  and  years,  shall  join 

Their  willing  aid,  and  follow  your  design, 

With  the  first  southern  gale  that  shall  present 

To  fill  your  sails,  and  favour  your  intent.  990 

BOOK  VII.  183 

With  such  discourse  they  entertain  the  day; 
The  ev'ning  pass'd  in  banquets,  sport,  and  play: 
Then  having  crown'd  the  night  with  sweet  repose, 
Aurora  (with  the  wind  at  east)  arose. 

Now  Pallas'  sons  to  Cephalus  resort,  995 

And  Cephalus  with  Pallas'  sons  to  court, 
To  the  king's  levee  ;  him  sleep's  silken  chain, 
And  pleasing  dreams,  heyond  his  hour  detain  ; 
But  then  the  princes  of  the  hlood,  in  state, 
Expect,  and  meet  'em,  at  the  palace  gate.  1000 

To  th'  inmost  courts  the  Grecian  youths  were  led, 
And  plac'd  hy  Phocus  on  a  Tyrian  bed ; 
Who,  soon  observing  Cephalus  to  hold 
A  dart  of  unknown  wood,  but  arm'd  with  gold ; 
None  better  loves  (said  he)  the  huntsman's  sport,  1005 
Or  does  more  often  to  the  woods  resort ;     - 
Yet  I  that  jav'lin's  stem  with  wonder  view, 
Too  brown  for  box,  too  smooth  a  grain  for  yew. 
I  cannot  guess  the  tree;  but  never  art, 
Did  form,  or  eyes  behold,  so  fair  a  dart .'  1010 

The  guest  then  interrupts  him — 'Twould  produce 
Still  greater  wonder,  if  you  knew  its  use. 
It  never  fails  to  strike  the  game,  and  then 
Comes  bloody  back  into  your  band  again. 
Then  Phocus  each  particular  desires,  1015 

And  th'  author  of  the  wondrous  gift  inquires. 
To  which  the  owner  thus,  with  weeping  eyes, 
And  sorrow  for  his  wife's  sad  fate,  replies : 

This  weapon  here,  (O  prince !)  can  you  believe 
This  dart  the  cause  for  which  so  much  I  grieve  ;    1020 
And  shall  continue  to  grieve  on,  till  fate 
Afford  such  wretched  life  no  longer  date  ? 
Would,  I  this  fatal  gift  had  ne'er  enjoy'd, 
This  fatal  gift  my  tender  wife  destroy'd! 
Procris  her  name,  allied  L"  charms  and  blood       102-5 
To  fair  Orythia  courted  by  a  god. 
Her  father  seal'd  my  hopes  with  rites  divine, 
But  firmer  love  before  had  made  her  mine. 
Men  call'd  me  blest,  and  blest  I  was  indeed, 
The  second  month  our  nuptials  did  succeed ;  1030 

When  (as  upon  Hymettus'  dewy  head, 


For  mountain  stags,  my  net  betimes  I  spread) 

Aurora  spy'd,  and  ravish'd  me  away ; 

With  rev'rence  to  the  goddess  I  must  say, 

Against  my  will,  for  Procris  had  my  heart,  1035 

Nor  would  her  image  from  my  thoughts  depart. 

At  last,  in  rage  she  cry'd  :  Ungrateful  boy, 

Go  to  your  Procri3,  take  your  fatal  joy : 

And  so  dismiss'd  me.     Musing  as  I  went, 

What  those  expressions  of  the  goddess  meant,      1040 

A  thousand  jealous  fears  possess  me  now, 

Lest  Procris  had  profan'd  her  nuptial  vow  : 

Her  youth  and  charms  did  to  my  fancy  paint 

A  lewd  ad ul tress,  but  her  life  a  saint. 

Yet  I  was  absent  long;  the  goddess  too  1045 

Taught  me  how  far  a  woman  could  be  true. 

Aurora's  treatment  much  suspicion  bred ; 

Besides,  who  truly  love,  e'en  shadows  dread. 

I  straight  impatient  for  the  trial  grew,  1049 

What  courtship,  back'd  with  richest  gifts,  could  do. 

Aurora's  envy  aided  my  design, 

And  lent  me  features  far  unlike  to  mine. 

In  this  disguise  to  my  own  house  I  came ; 

But  all  was  chaste,  no  conscious  sign  of  blame  : 

With  thousand  arts  I  scarce  admittance  found,     1055 

And  then  beheld  her  weeping  on  the  ground 

For  her  lost  husband ;  hardly  I  retain'd 

My  purpose,  scarce  the  wishd  embrace  refrain'd. 

How  charming  was  her  grief  !  Then,  Phocus,  guess 

What  killing  beauties  waited  on  her  dress.  1060 

Her  constant  answer,  when  my  suit  1  press'd, 

'  Forbear ;  my  lord's  dear  image  guards  this  breast ; 

Where'er  he  is,  whatever  cause  detains, 

Whoe'er  has  his,  my  heart  unmov'd  remains.'       1064 

What  greater  proofs  of  truth  than  these  could  be? 

Yet  I  persist,  and  urge  my  destiny. 

At  length  she  found,  when  my  own  form  return'd, 

Her  jealous  lover  there,  whose  loss  she  mourn'd. 

Enrag'd  with  my  suspicion,  swift  as  wind, 

She  fled  >rt  once  from  me  and  all  mankind;  1070 

And  so  became,  her  purpose  to  retain, 

A  nymph,  and  huntress  in  Diana's  train. 

Forsaken  thus,  I  found  my  flames  increase, 

BOOK  VII.  185 

I  own'd  my  folly,  and, I  sued  for  peace. 

It  was  a  fault,  but  not  of  guilt  to  move  1075 

Such  punishment,  a  fault  of  too  much  love, 

Thus  I  retriev'd  her  to  my  longing  arms, 

And  many  happy  days  possess'd  her  charms, 

But  with  herself  she  kindly  did  confer 

What  gifts  the  goddess  had  bestow'd  on  her;         1080 

The  fleetest  greyhound,  with  this  lovely  dart: 

And  I  of  both  have  wonders  to  impart. 

Near  Thebes,  a  savage  beast,  of  race  unknown, 
Laid  waste  the  field,  and  bore  the  vineyards  down  : 
The  swains  fled  from  him,  and  with  one  consent  1085 
Our  Grecian  youth  to  chase  the  monster  went ; 
More  swift  than  lightning  he  the  toils  surpass'd, 
And  in  his  course,  spears,  men,  and  trees  o'ercast. 
We  slipt  our  dogs,  and  last  my  Lelaps  too, 
When  none  of  all  the  mortal  race  would  do  :         1090 
He  long  before  was  struggling  from  my  hands, 
And  ere  we  could  unloose  him,  broke  his  bands. 
That  minute,  where  he  was,  we  could  not  find, 
And  only  saw  the  dust  he  left  behind. 
I  clim'd  a  neighb'ring  hill  to  view  the  chase,        1095 
While  in  the  plain  they  held  an  equal  race ; 
The  savage  now  seems  caught,  and  now  by  force 
To  quit  himself,  nor  holds  the  same  straight  course; 
But  running  counter,  from  the  foe  withdraws, 
And  with  short  turning  cheats  his  gaping  jaws,  1100 
Which  he  retrieves,  and  still  so  closely  press'd, 
You'd  fear  at  ev'ry  stretch  he  were  possest; 
Yet  for  the  gripe  his  fangs  in  vain  prepare, 
The  game  shoots  from  him,  and  he  chops  the  air. 
To  cast  my  jav'lin  then  I  took  my  stand ;  1105 

But  as  the  thongs  were  fitting  to  my  hand, 
While  to  the  valley  I  o'erlook'd  the  wood, 
Before  my  eyes  two  marble  statues  stood  ; 
That,  as  pursu'd,  appearing  at  full  stretch ; 
This  barking  after,  and  at  point  to  catch :  1110 

Some  god  their  course  did  with  this  wonder  grace, 
That,  neither  might  be  conquer"d  in  the  chase. 
A  sudden  silence  here  his  tongue  suppress'd, 
He  here  stops  short,  and  fain  would  waive  the  rest. 

The  eager  prince  then  urg'd  him  to  impart,       1115 


The  fortune  that  attended  on  the  dart. 

First  then  (said  he),  past  joys  let  me  relate; 

For  bliss  was  the  foundation  of  my  fate. 

No  language  can  those  happy  hours  express, 

Did  from  our  nuptials  me,  and  Procris  bless :        1120 

The  kindest  pair !  what  more  could  Heav'n  confer  1 

For  she  was  all  to  me,  and  I  to  her. 

Had  Jove  made  love,  great  Jove  had  been  despis'd ; 

And  I  my  Procris  more  than  Venus  prized : 

Thus  while  no  other  joy  we  did  aspire,  1125 

We  grew  at  last  one  soul,  and  one  desire. 

Forth  to  the  woods  I  went  at  break  of  day 

(The  constant  practice  of  my  youth)  for  prey  : 

Nor  yet  for  servant,  horse,  or  dog  did  call ; 

I  found  the  single  dart  to  serve  for  all.  1130 

With  slaughter  tir'd,  1  sought  the  cooler  shade, 

And  winds  that  from  the  mountains  pierc'd  the  glade ; 

Come,  gentle  air  (so  was  I  wont  to  say), 

Come,  gentle  air,  sweet  Aura,  come  away. 

This  always  was  the  burden  of  my  song,  1135 

Come,  "suage  my  flames,  sweet  Aura,  come  along. 

Thou  always  art  most  Avelcome  to  my  breast; 

I  faint;  approach,  thou  dearest  kindest  guest! 

(These  blandishments,  and  more  than  these,  I  said, 

By  fate  to  unsuspected  ruin  led,)  1140 

Thou  art  my  joy,  for  thy  dear  sake  I  love 

Each  desert  hill,  and  solitary  grove ; 

When  (faint  with  labour)  I  refreshment  need, 

For  cordials  on  thy  fragrant  breath  I  feed. 

At  last  a  wand'ring  swain  in  hearing  came,       1145 
And,  cheated  with  the  sound  of  Aura's  name, 
He  thought  I  had  some  assignation  made  ; 
And  to  my  Procris'  ear  the  news  convey'd. 
Great  love  is  soonest  with  suspicion  fir'd : 
She  swoon'd,  and  with  the  tale  almost  expired.    1150 
Ah!  wretched  heart  (shecry'd),  ah  !  faithless  man! 
And  then  to  curse  th'  imagin'd  nymph  began  : 
Yet  oft  she  doubts,  oft  hopes  she  is  deceiv'd, 
And  chides  herself,  that  ever  she  believ'd, 
Her  lord  to  such  injustice  could  proceed,  1155 

Till  she  herself  were  witness  of  the  deed. 

Next  morn  I  to  the  woods  again  repair, 

BOOK  VII.  187 

And,  weary  with  the  chase  invoke  the  air; 

Approach,  dear  Aura,  and  my  bosom  cheer : — 

At  which  a  mournful  sound  did  strike  my  ear ;     1160 

Yet  I  proceeded,  till  the  thicket  by, 

With  rustling  noise  and  motion,  drew  my  eye; 

I  thought  some  beast  of  prey  was  shelter'd  there, 

And  to  the  covert  threw  my  certain  spear ; 

From  whence  a  tender  sigh  my  soul  did  wound;  1165 

'  Ah  me!'  it  cry'd,  and  did  like  Procris  sound. 

Procris  was  there  ;  too  well  the  voice  I  knew, 

And  to  the  place  with  headlong  horror  flew ; 

Where  I  beheld  her  gasping  on  the  ground, 

In  vain  attempting  from  the  deadly  wound  1170 

To  draw  the  dart,  her  love's  dear  fatal  gift .' 

My  guilty  arms  .had  scarce  the  strength  to  lift 

The  beauteous  load;  my  silks,  and  hair  I  tore 

(If  possible)  to  stanch  the  pressing  gore; 

For  pity  begg'd  her  keep  her  flitting  breath,  1175 

And  not  to  leave  me  guilty  of  her  death. 

While  I  entreat,  she  fainted  fast  away, 

And  these  few  words  had  only  strength  to  say : 

'  By  all  the  sacred  bonds  of  plighted  love, 

By  all  your  rev'rence  to  the  pow'rs  above,  1180 

By  all  that  made  me  charming  once  appear, 

By  all  the  truth  for  which  you  held  me  dear, 

And  last  by  love,  the  cause  through  which  I  bleed, 

Let  Aura  never  to  my  bed  succeed!' 

I  then  perceiv'd  the  error  of  our  fate,  1185 

And  told  it  her,  but  found  and  told  too  late ! 

I  felt  her  lower  to  my  bosom  fall, 

And  while  her  eyes  had  any  sight  at  all, 

On  mine  she  fix'd  them,  in  her  pangs  still  press'd 

My  hand,  and  sigh'd  her  soul  into  my  breast !       1190 

Yet,  being  undeceiv'd,  resign'd  her  breath, 

Methought,  more  cheerfully,  and  smil'd  in  death. 

With  such  concern  the  weeping  hero  told 
This  tale,  that  none  who  heard  him  could  withhold 
From  melting  into  sympathizing  tears,  1195 

Till  ./Eacus  with  his  two  sons  appears  ; 
Whom  he  commits,  with  their  new-levy'd  bands, 
To  fortune's,  and  so  brave  a  gen'ral's  hands. 




The  story  of  Nisus  and  Scylla.  The  Labyrinth.  The  story  of 
Daedalus  and  Icarus.  The  story  of  Meleager  and  Atalanta. 
The  transformation  of  the  Naiads.  Perimele  turned  into  an 
island.  The  story  of  Baucis  and  Philemon.  The  changes  of 
Proteus.  The  story  of  Erisichthon.  The  description  of  famine. 
The  transformation  of  Erisiehthon's  daughter. 

Now  shone  the  morning  star  in  bright  array, 

To  vanquish  night,  and  usher  in  the  day; 

The  wind  veers  southward,  and  moist  clouds  arise, 

That  blot  with  shades  the  blue  meridian  skies. 

Cephalus  feels  with  joy  the  kindly  gales,  5 

His  new  allies  unfurl  the  swelling  sails; 

Steady  their  course,  they  cleave  the  yielding  main, 

And,  with  a  wish,  th'  intended  harbour  gain. 

Meanwhile  king  Minos,  on  the  Attic  strand, 
Displays  his  martial  skill,  and  wastes  the  land.        10 
His  army  is  encamp'd  upon  the  plains, 
Before  Alcatho'e's  walls,  where  Nisus  reigns; 
On  whose  gray  head  a  lock  of  purple  hue, 
The  strength  and  fortune  of  his  kingdom,  grew. 

Six  moons  were  gone,  and  past,  when  still  from  far 
Victoria  hover'd  o'er  the  doubtful  war.  10 

So  long,  to  both  inclin'd,  th'  impartial  maid 
Between  'em  both  her  equal  wings  display'd. 

High  on  the  walls,  by  Phoebus  vocal  made, 
A  turret  of  the  palace  rais'd  its  head ;  20 

And  where  the  god  his  tuneful  harp  resign'd, 
The  sound  within  the  stones  still  lay  enshrin'd : 
Hither  the  daughter  of  the  purple  king 
Ascended  oft,  to  hear  its  music  ring; 
And,  striking  with  a  pebble,  would  release  25 

Th'  enchanted  notes  in  times  of  happy  peace. 
But  now,  from  thence,  the  curious  maid  beheld 
Rough  feats  of  arms,  and  combats  of  the  field : 
And,  since  the  siege  was  long,  had  learnt  the  name 
Of  ev'ry  chief,  his  character,  and  fame ;  30 

Their  arms,  their  horse,  and  quiver  she  descry'd, 
Nor  could  the  dress  of  war  the  warrior  hide. 

BOOK  VIII.  189 

Europa's  son  she  knew  above  the  rest, 
And  more,  than  well  became  a  virgin  breast : 
In  vain  the  crested  morion  veils  his  face,  35 

She  thinks  it  adds  a  more  peculiar  grace: 
His  ample  shield,  emboss'd  with  burnish'd  gold, 
Still  makes  the  bearer  lovelier  to  behold: 
When  the  tough  jav'lin,  with  a  whirl  he  sends, 
His  strength,  and  skill,  the  sighing  maid  commends: 
Or,  when  he  strains  to  draw  the  circling  bow,  41 

And  his  fine  limbs  a  manly  posture  shew, 
Compar'd  with  Phoebus,  he  performs  so  well, 
Let  her  be  judge,  and  Minos  shall  excel. 

But  when  the  helm,  put  off,  display'd  to  sight,      45 
And  set  his  features  in  an  open  light ; 
When,  vaulting  to  his  seat,  his  steed  he  press'd, 
Caparison'd  in  gold,  and  richly  drest; 
Himself  in  scarlet  sumptuously  array'd, 
New  passions  rise,  and  fire  the  frantic  maid.  .50 

O  happy  spear!  (she  cries)  that  feels  his  touch; 
Nay,  e'en  the  reins  he  holds  are  blest  too  much. 

0  !  were  it  lawful  she  could  wing  her  way 
Through  the  stern  hostile  troops  without  dismay; 

Or  throw  her  body  to  the  distant  ground,  55 

And  in  the  Cretans'  happy  camp  be  found. 

Would  Minos  but  desire  it!  she'd  expose 

Her  native  country  to  her  country's  foes  ; 

Unbar  the  gates,  the  town  with  flames  infest, 

Or  any  thing  that  Minos  should  request.  60 

And,  as  she  sat,  and  pleas'd  her  longing  sight, 
Viewing  the  king's  pavilion  veil'd  with  white, 
Should  joy,  or  grief  (she  said),  possess  my  breast, 
To  see  my  country  by  a  war  opprest  ? 
I'm  in  suspense!  for,  though  'tis  grief  to  know,         65 

1  love  a  man  that  is  decJar'd  my  foe  ; 
Yet  in  my  own  despite,  I  must  approve 

That  lucky  war,  which  brought  the  man  I  love. 

Yet,  were  1  tender'd  as  a  pledge  of  peace, 

The  cruelties  of  war  might  quickly  cease.  70 

O!  with  what  joy  I'd  wear  the  chains  he  gave  ! 

A  patient  hostage,  and  a  willing  slave. 

Thou  lovely  object!  if  the  nymph  that  bare 

Thy  charming  person,  were  but  half  so  fair; 


Well  might  a  god  her  yirgin  bloom  desire,  75 

And  with  a  rape  indulge  his  amorous  fire. 

O !  had  I  wings  to  glide  along  the  air, 

To  his  dear  tent  I'd  fly,  and  settle  there ; 

There  tell  ray  quality,  confess  my  flame, 

And  grant  him  any  dowry  that  he'd  name.  80 

All,  all  I'd  give ;  only  my  native  land, 

My  dearest  country,  should  excepted  stand. 

For,  perish  love  and  all  expected  joys, 

Ere  with  so  base  a  thought,  my  soul  complies. 

Yet,  oft  thevanquish'd  some  advantage  find,  85 

When  conquer'd  by  a  noble,  gen'rous  mind. 

Brave  Minos  justly  as  the  war  begun, 

Fir'd  with  resentment  for  his  murder'd  son : 

The  righteous  gods  a  righteous  cause  regard, 

And  will,  with  victory,  his  arms  reward :  90 

We  must  be  conquer'd;  and  the  captive's  fate 

Will  surely  seize  us,  though  it  seize  us  late. 

Why  then  should  love  be  idle,  and  neglect 

What  Mars,  by  arms  and  perils,  will  effect  1 

O  prince,  I  die,  with  anxious  fear  opprest,  95 

Lest  some  rash  hand  should  wound  my  charmer'sbreast: 

For,  if  they  saw  no  barb'rous  mind  could  dare 

Against  that  lovely  form  to  raise  a  spear. 

But  I'm  resolv'd,  and  fixt  in  this  decree, 

My  father's  country  shall  my  dowry  be.  100 

Thus  I  prevent  the  loss  of  life  and  blood, 

And,  in  effect,  the  action  must  be  good. 

Vain  resolution !   for,  at  ev'ry  gate 

The  trusty  centinels  successive  wait: 

The  keys  my  father  keeps;  ah !  -there's  my  grief;   105 

'Tis  he  obstructs  all  hopes  of  my  relief. 

Gods!  that  this  hated  light  I'd  never  seen ! 

Or,  all  my  life  without  a  father  been ! 

But  gods  we  all  may  be :  for  those  that  dare, 

Are  gods,  and  fortune's  chiefest  favours  share.        110 

The  ruling  pow'rs  a  lazy  pray'r  detest, 

The  bold  adventurer  succeeds  the  best. 

What  other  maid,  inspir'd  with  such  a  flame, 

But  would  take  courage,  and  abandon  shame? 

But  would,  though  ruin  should  ensue,  remove         115 

Whate'er  oppos'd,  and  clear  the  way  to  love? 

BOOK  VIII.  191 

This,  shall  another's  feeble  passion  dare, 
While  I  sit  tame,  and  languish  in  despair1? 
No  ;  for  though  fire  and  sword  before  me  lay, 
Impatient  love  through  both  should  force  its  way  ;  120 
Yet  I  have  no  such  enemies  to  fear, 
My  sole  obstruction  is  my  father's  hair ; 
His  purple  lock  my  sanguine  hope  destroys, 
And  clouds  the  prospect  of  my  rising  joys. 

Whilst  thus  she  spoke,  amid  the  thick'ning  air      125 
Night  supervenes  the  greatest  nurse  of  care ; 
And,  as  the  goddess  spreads  her  sable  wings, 
The  virgin's  fears  decay,  and  coiirage  springs. 
The  hour  was  come,  when  man's  o'er-labour'd  breast 
Surceas'd  its  care,  by  downy  sleep  possest:  130 

All  things  now  hush'd,  Scylla  with  silent  tread 
Urg'd  her  approach  to  Nisus'  royal  bed: 
There  of  the  fatal  lock  (accursed  theft!) 
She  her  unwitting  father's  head  bereft. 
In  safe  possession  of  her  impious  prey,  135 

Out  at  a  postern  gate  she  takes  her  way. 
Embolden'd,  by  the  merit  of  the  deed, 
She  traverses  the  adverse  camp  with  speed, 
Till  Minos'  tent  she  reach'd :  The  righteous  king 
She  thus  bespoke,  who  shiver'd  at  the  thing:  140 

Behold  th'  effect  of  love's  resistless  sway ! 
I,  Nisus'  royal  seed  to  thee  betray 
My  country,  and  my  gods.    For  this  strange  task, 
Minos,  no  other  boon  but  thee  I  ask. 
This  purple  lock,  a  pledge  of  love  receive;  145 

No  worthless  present,  since  in  it  I  give 
My  father's  head. — Mov'd  at  a  crime  so  new, 
And  with  abhorrence  fill'd,  back  Minos  drew. 
Nor  touch'd  th'  unhallow'd  gift ;  but  thus  exclaim'd, 
(With  mien  indignant,  and  with  eye3  inflam'd):     150 
Perdition  seize  thee,  thou,  thy  kind's  disgrace ; 
May  thy  devoted  carcase  find  no  place 
In  earth,  or  air,  or  sea,  by  all  outcast! 
Shall  Minos,  with  so  foul  a  monster,  blast 
His  Cretan  world,  where  cradled  Jove  was  nurst?  155 
Forbid  it  Heav'n !   Away,  thou  most  accurst! 

And  now  Alcathbe,its  lord  exchang'd. 
Was  under  Minos'  domination  rang'd. 


While  the  most  equal  king  his  care  applies 

To  curb  the  conquer'd,  and  new  laws  devise,  160 

The  fleet,  by  his  command,  with  hoisted  sails, 

And  ready  oars,  invites  the  murrn'ring  gales. 

At  length  the  Cretan  hero  anchor  weigh'd, 

Repaying,  with  neglect,  the  abandon'd  maid. 

Deaf  to  her  cries,  he  furrows  up  the  main;  165 

In  vain  she  prays,  solicits  him  in  vain. 

And  now  she  furious  grows ;  in  wild  despair 
She  wrings  her  hands,  and  throws  aloft  her  hair. 
Where  runn'st  thou  (thus  she  vents  her  deep  distress) 
Why  shunn'st  thou  her  that  cro  wn'd  thee  with  success  ? 
Her,  whose  fond  love  to  thee  could  sacrifice  171 

Her  country,  and  her  parent,  sacred  ties! 
Can  nor  my  love,  nor  proffer'd  presents  find 
A  passage  to  thy  heart,  and  make  thee  kind? 
Can  nothing  move  thy  pity?  O  ingrate,  175 

Canst  thou  behold  my  lost,  forlorn  estate, 
And  not  be  soften'd  ?  Canst  thou  throw  off  one 
Who  has  no  refuge  left  but  thee  alone  ? 
Where  shall  I  seek  for  comfort?  whither  fly? 
My  native  country  does  in  ashes  lie  :  180 

Or  were't  not  so,  my  treason  bars  me  there, 
And  bids  me  wander.    Shall  I  next  repair 
To  a  wrong'd  father,  by  my  guilt  undone? — 
Me,  all  mankind  deservedly  will  shun. 
I,  out  of  all  the  world,  myself  have  thrown,  185 

To  purchase  an  access  to  Crete  alone ; 
Which  since  refus'd,ungen'rous  man,  give  o'er 
To  boast  thy  race ;  Europa  never  bore 
A  thing  so  savage.    Thee  some  tigress  bred, 
On  the  bleak  Syrt's  inhospitable  bed;  190 

Or  where  Charybdis  pours  its  rapid  tide 
Tempestuous.    Thou  art  not  to  love  allied; 
Nor  did  the  king  of  gods  thy  mother  meet 
Beneath  a  bull's  forg'd  shape,  and  bear  to  Crete. 
That  fable  of  thy  glorious  birth  is  feign'd;  195 

Some  wild  outrageous  bull  thy  dam  sustain'd. 
O  father  Nisus,  now  my  death  behold ; 
Exult,  O  city,  by  my  baseness  sold ! 
Minos,  obdurate,  has  aveng'd  ye  all; 
But  'twere  more  just  by  those  I  wrong'd  to  fall:      200 

BOOK  VIII.  193 

For  why  should'st  thou,  who  only  didst  subdue 

By  my  offending,  my  offence  pursue? 

Well  art  thou  match'd  to  one  whose  am'rous  flame 

Too  fiercely  rag'd,  for  human  kind  to  tame; 

One  who,  within  a  wooden  heifer  thrust,  295 

Courted  a  low'ring  bull's  mistaken  lust; 

And,  from  whose  monster-teeming  womb,  the  earth 

Receiv'd  what  much  it  mourn'd,  a  bi-form  birth. 

But  what  avail  my  plaints  1  the  whistling  wind, 

Which  bears  him  far  away,  leaves  them  behind.     210 

Well  weigh'd  Pasiphae,  when  she  preferr'd 

A  bull  to  thee,  more  brutish  than  the  herd. 

But,  ah  !  time  presses,  and  the  labour'd  oars 

To  distance  drive  the  fleet,  and  lose  the  less'ning  shores. 

Think  not,  ungrateful  man,  the  liquid  way  215 

And  threat'ning  hillows  shall  enforce  my  stay. 

I'll  follow  thee  in  spite :  my  arms  I'll  throw 

Around  thy  oars,  or  grasp  thy  crooked  prow, 

And  drag  through  drenching  seas. — Her  eager  tongue 

Had  hardly  clos'd  the  speech,  when  forth  she  sprung, 

And  prov'd  the  deep.     Cupid  with  added  force       221 

Recruits  each  nerve,  and  aids  her  wat'ry  course. 

Soon  she  the  ship  attains,  unwelcome  guest; 

And,  as  with  close  embrace  its  sides  she  press'd, 

A  hawk  from  upper  air  came  pouring  down  225 

('Twas  Nisus  cleft  the  sky  with  wings  new  grown) : 

At  Scylla's  head  his  horny  bill  he  aims  ; 

She,  fearful  of.  the  blow,  the  ship  disclaims, 

Quitting  her  hold:  and  yet  she  fell  not  far, 

But  wond'ring,  finds  herself  sustain'd  in  air.  230 

Chang'd  to  a  lark,  she  mottled  pinions  shook, 

And,  from  the  ravish'd  lock,  the  name  of  Ciris  took. 

Now  Minos,  landed  on  the  Cretan  shore, 
Performs  his  vows  to  Jove's  protecting  pow'r, 
A  hundred  bullocks  of  the  largest  breed,  235 

With  flow'rets  crown'd,  before  his  altar  bleed : 
While  trophies  of  the  vanquish'd,  brought  from  far, 
Adorn  the  palace  with  the  spoils  of  war. 

Meanwhile  the  monster  of  a  human  beast, 
His  family's  reproach,  and  stain,  increas'd.  240 

His  double  kind  the  rumour  swiftly  spread, 


And  evidenc'd  the  mother's  beastly  deed. 
When  Minos,  willing  to  conceal  the  shame 
That  sprang  from  the  reports  of  tattling  fame, 
Resolves  a  dark  inclosure  to  provide,  245 

And,  far  from  sight,  the  two-form'd  creature  hide. 

Great  Daedalus  of  Athens  was  the  man 
That  made  the  draught,  and  form'd  the  wondrous 

Where  rooms  within  themselves  encircled  lie, 
With  various  windings,  to  deceive  the  eye.  250 

As  soft  Maeander's  wanton  current  plays, 
When  through  the  Phrygian  fields  it  loosely  strays; 
Backward  and  forward  rolls  the  dimpled  tide, 
Seeming,  at  once,  two  difF'rent  ways  to  glide  : 
While  circling  streams  their  former  banks  survey, 
And  waters  past,  succeeding  waters  see ;  256 

Now  floating  to  the  sea  with  downward  course, 
Now  pointing  upward  to  its  ancient  source. 
Such  was  the  work,  so  intricate  the  place, 
That  scarce  the  workman  all  its  turns  could  trace  ; 
And  Daedalus  was  puzzled  how  to  find  261 

The  secret  ways  of  what  himself  design'd. 

These  private  walls  the  Minotaure  include, 
Who  twice  was  glutted  with  Athenian  blood  : 
But  the  third  tribute  more  successful  prov'd,  265 

Slew  the  foul  monster,  and  the  plague  remov'd. 
When  Theseus,  aided  by  the  virgin's  art, 
Had  trac'd  the  guiding  thread  through  ev'ry  part, 
He  took  the  gentle  maid,  that  set  him  free, 
And,  bound  for  Dias,  cut  the  briny  sea.  270 

There  quickly  cloy'd,  ungrateful,  and  unkind, 
Left  his  fair  consort  in  the  isle  behind  : 
Whom  Bacchus  saw,  and  straining  in  his  arms 
Her  rifled  bloom,  and  violated  charms, 
Resolves,  for  this,  the  dear  engaging  dame  275 

Should  shine  for  ever  in  the  rolls  of  fame  ; 
And  bids  her  crown  among  the  stars  be  plac'd, 
With  an  eternal  constellation  grac'd. 
The  golden  circlet  mounts ;  and,  as  it  flies, 
Its  diamonds  twinkle  in  the  distant  skies ;  280 

There,  in  their  pristiae  form,  the  gemmy  rays 
Between  Alcides,  and  the  dragon  blaze. 

BOOK  VIII.  195 

•    In  tedious  exile  now  too  long  detain'd, 

Daedalus  languish'd  for  his  native  land  : 

The  sea  foreclos'd  his  flight ;  yet  thus  he  said ;       285 

Though  earth  and  water  in  subjection  laid, 

O  cruel  Minos,  thy  dominion  be, 

We'll  go  through  air ;  for  sure  the  air  is  free. 

Then  to  new  arts  his  cunning  thought  applies, 

And  to  improve  the  work  of  nature  tries.  290 

A  row  of  quills  in  gradual  order  plac'd, 

Rise  by  degrees  in  length  from  first  to  last ; 

As  on  a  cliff  th'  ascending  thicket  grows, 

Or,  different  reeds  the  rural  pipe  compose. 

Along  the  middle  runs  a  twine  of  flax,  295 

The  bottom  stems  are  join'd  by  pliant  wax. 

Thus,  well  compact,  a  hollow  bending  brings 

The  fine  composure  into  real  wings. 

His  boy,  young  Icarus,  that  near  him  stood, 
Unthinking  of  his  fate,  with  smiles  pursu'd  300 

The  floating  feathers,  which  the  moving  air       [there, 
Bore  loosely  from  the  ground,  and  wafted  here  and 
Or  with  the  wax  impertinently  play'd, 
And  with  his  childish  tricks  the  great  design  delay'd. 
The  final  master-stroke  at  last  impos'd,  305 

And  now,  the  neat  machine  completely  clos'd ; 
Fitting  his  pinions,  on  a  flight  he  tries, 
And  hung  self-balanc'd  in  the  beaten  skies. 
Then  thus  instructs  his  child:  My  boy,  take  care 
To  wing  your  course  along  the  middle  air  ;  310 

If  low,  the  surges  wet  your  flagging  plumes, 
If  high,  the  sun  the  melting  wax  consumes : 
Steer  between  both :  nor  to  the  northern  skies, 
Nor  south  Orion  turn  your  giddy  eyes  ; 
But  follow  me  :  Let  me  before  you  lay  31 5 

Rules  for  the  flight,  and  mark  the  pathless  way. 
Then  teaching,  with  a  fond  concern,  his  son, 
He  took  the  untried  wings,  and  fix'd  'em  on, 
But  fix'd  with  trembling  hands ;  and,  as  he  speaks. 
The  tears  roll  gently  down  his  aged  cheeks.  320 

Then  kiss'd,  and  in  his  arms  embrae'd  him  fast, 
But  knew  not  this  embrace  must  be  the  last ; 
And  mounting  upward,  as  he  wings  his  flight, 
Back  on  his  charge  he  turns  his  aching  sight, 


As  parent  birds,  when  first  their  callow  care  325 

Leave  the  high  nest  to  tempt  the  liquid  air  ; 
Then  cheers  him  on,  and  oft,  with  fatal  art, 
Reminds  the  stripling  to  perform  his  part. 
These,  as  the  angler  at  the  silent  brook, 
Or  mountain-shepherd  leaning  on  his  crook,  330 

Or  gaping  ploughman  from  the  vale  descries, 
They  stare,  and  view  'em  with  religious  eyes, 
And  straight  conclude  'em  gods  ;  since  none  but  they 
Through  their  own  azure  skies  could  find  a  way. 

Now  Delos,  Paros,  on  the  left  are  seen,  335 

And  Samos,  favour'd  by  Jove's  haughty  queen; 
Upon  the  right,  the  isle  Lebynthos  nam'd, 
And  fair  Calymne  for  its  honey  fam'd. 
When  now  the  boy,  whose  childish  thoughts  aspire 
To  loftier  aims,  and  make  him  ramble  high'r,  340 

Grown  wild,  and  wanton,  more  embolden'd  flies 
Far  from  his  guide,  and  soars  among  the  skies. 
The  soft'ning  wax,  that  felt  a  nearer  sun, 
Dissolv'd  apace,  and  soon  began  to  run  ; 
The  youth  in  vain  his  melting  pinions  shakes,         345 
His  feathers  gone,  no  longer  air  he  takes; 
O!  father,  father!   as  he  strove  to  cry, 
Down  to  the  sea  he  tumbled  from  on  high, 
And  found  his  fate ;  yet  still  subsists  by  fame, 
Among  those  waters  that  retain  his  name.  350 

The  father,  now  no  more  a  father,  cries, 
Ho,  Icarus  !  where  are  you?  as  he  flies  ; 
Where  shall  I  seek  my  boy  1  he  cries  again, 
And  saw  his  feathers  scatter'd  on  the  main : 
Then  curs'd  his  art ;  and  fun'ral  rites  conferr'd,      355 
Naming  the  country  from  the  youth  interr'd. 

A  partridge,  from  a  neighb'ring  stump,  beheld 
The  sire  his  monumental  marble  build ; 
Who,  with  peculiar  call,  and  flutt'ring  wing, 
Chirp'd  joyful,  and  malicious  seem'd  to  sing :  360 

The  only  bird  of  all  its  kind,  and  late 
Transform'd  in  pity  to  a  feather'd  state : 
From  whence,  O  Daedalus,  thy  guilt  we  date. 

His  sister's  son,  when  now  twelve  years  were  past, 
Was,  with  his  uncle,  as  a  scholar  plac'd ;  365 

BOOK  VIII.  197 

The  unsuspecting  mother  saw  his  parts, 

And  genius  fitted  for  the  finest  arts. 

This  soon  appear'd ;  for  when  the  spiny  hone 

In  fishes'  hacks  was  by  the  stripling  known, 

A  rare  invention  thence  he  learnt  to  draw,  370 

Fil'd  teeth  in  ir'n,  and  made  the  grating  saw. 

He  was  the  first,  that  from  a  knob  of  brass 

Made  two  straight  arms  with  widening  stretch  to 

That,  while  one  stood  upon  the  centre's  place, 
The  other  round  it  drew  a  circling  space.  375 

Daedalus  envy'd  this,  and  from  the  top 
Of  fair  Minerva's  temple  let  him  drop  ; 
Feigning  that,  as  he  lean'd  upon  the  tow'r, 
Careless  he  stoop'd  too  much,  and  tumbled  o'er. 

The  goddess,  who  th'  ingenious  still  befriends,    380 
On  this  occasion  her  assistance  lends ; 
His  arms  with  feathers,  as  he  fell,  she  veils, 
And  in  the  air  a  new  made  bird  he  sails. 
The  quickness  of  his  genius,  once  so  fleet, 
Still  in  his  wings  remains,  and  in  his  feet :  385 

Still,  though  transform'd,  his  ancient  name  he 

And  with  low  flight  the  new-shorn  stubble  sweeps ; 
Declines  the  lofty  trees,  and  thinks  it  best 
To  brood  in  hedge-rows  o'er  its  humble  nest ; 
And,  in  remembrance  of  the  former  ill,  390 

Avoid  the  heights,  and  precipices  still. 

At  length,  fatigu'd  with  long  laborious  flights, 
On  fair  Sicilia's  plains  the  artist  lights ; 
Where  Cocalus  the  king,  that  gave  him  aid, 
Was,  for  his  kindness,  with  esteem  repaid.  395 

Athens  no  more  her  doleful  tribute  sent, 
That  hardship  gallant  Theseus  did  prevent ; 
Their  temples  hung  with  garlands,  they  adore 
Each  friendly  god,  but  most  Minerva's  pow'r ; 
To  her,  to  Jove,  to  all,  their  altars  smoke,  400 

They  each  with  victims  and  perfumes  invoke. 

Now  talking  Fame,  through  ev'ry  Grecian  town, 
Had  spread,  immortal  Theseus,  thy  renown. 
From  him,  the  neighb'ring  nations  in  distress, 
In  suppliant  terms  implore  a  kind  redress.  405 


From  him,  the  Calidonians  sought  relief; 
Though  valiant  Meleagrus  was  their  chief. 
The  cause,  a  boar,  who  ravag'd  far  and  near : 
Of  Cynthia's  wrath,  th'  avenging  minister. 
For  GEneus  with  autumnal  plenty  bless'd,  410 

By  gifts  to  heav'n  his  gratitude  express'd : 
Cull'd  sheaves,  to  Ceres  ;  to  Lyaeus,  wine; 
To  Pan,  and  Pales,  offer'd  sheep  and  kine ; 
And  fat  of  olives,  to  Minerva's  shrine. 
Beginning  from  the  rural  gods,  his  hand  415 

Was  lib'ral  to  the  pow'rs  of  high  command  : 
Each  deity  in  ev'ry  kind  was  bless'd, 
Till  at  Diana's  fane  th'  invidious  honour  ceas'd. 

Wrath  touches  e'en  the  gods  ;  the  queen  of  night, 
Fir'd  with  disdain,  and  jealous  of  her  right,  420 

Unhonour'd  though  I  am,  at  least  (said  she), 
Not  unreveng'd  that  impious  act  shall  be. 
Swift  as  the  word,  she  sped  the  boar  away, 
With  charge  on  those  devoted  fields  to  prey. 
No  larger  bulls  th'  ^Egyptian  pastures  feed,  425 

And  none  so  large  Sicilian  meadows  breed : 
His  eye-balls  glare  with  fire  suftus'd  with  blood ; 
His  neck  shoots  up  a  thick-set  thorny  wood ; 
His  bristled  back  a  trench  impal'd  appears, 
And  stands  erected,  like  a  field  of  spears  ;  430 

Froth  fills  his  chaps,  he  sends  a  grunting  sound, 
And  part  he  churns,  and  part  befoams  the  ground. 
For  tusks  with  Indian  elephants  he  strove, 
And  Jove's  own  thunder  from  his  mouth  he  drove. 
He  burns  the  leaves  ;  the  scorching  blast  invades  435 
The  tender  corn,  and  shrivels  up  the  blades: 
Or  suff 'ring  not  their  yellow  beards  to  rear, 
He  tramples  down  the  spikes,  and  intercepts  the 

In  vain  the  barns  expect  their  promis'd  load; 
Nor  barns  at  home,  nor  ricks  are  heap'd  abroad :    440 
In  vain  the  hinds  the  threshing-floor  prepare, 
And  exercise  their  flails  in  empty  air. 
With  olives  ever-green  the  ground  is  strow'd, 
And  grapes  ungather'd  shed  their  gen'rous  blood. 
Amid  the  fold  he  rages,  nor  the  sheep  445 

Their  shepherds,  nor  the  grooms  their  bulls  can  keep. 

BOOK  VIII.  199 

From  fields  to  walls  the  frighted  rabble  run, 
Nor  think  themselves  secure  within  the  town : 
Till  Meleagrus,  and  his  chosen  crew, 
Contemn  the  danger,  and  the  praise  pursue.  4j0 

Fair  Leda's  twins  (in  time  to  stars  decreed) 
One  fought  on  foot,  one  curb'd  the  fiery  steed ; 
Then  issu'd  forth  fam'd  Jason  after  these, 
Who  mann'd  the  foremost  ship  that  sail'd  the  seas ; 
Then  Theseus  join'd  with  bold  Perithoiis  came,      455 
A  single  concord  in  a  double  name ; 
The  Thestian  sons,  Idas  who  swiftly  ran, 
And  Ceneus,  once  a  woman,  now  a  man ; 
Lynceus,  with  eagle's  eyes,  and  lion's  heart; 
Leucippus,  with  his  never-erring  dart:  460 

Acastus,  Phileus,  Phoenix,  Telamon, 
Echion,  Lelix,  and  Eurytion, 
Achilles'  father,  and  great  Phocus'  son ; 
Dryas  the  fierce,  and  Hippasus  the  strong; 
With  twice  old  Iblas,  and  Nestor  then  but  young ;  465 
Laertes  active,  and  Ancasus  bold ; 
Mopsus  the  sage,  who  future  things  foretold; 
And  t'other  seer,*  yet  by  his  wife  unsold. 
A  thousand  others  of  immortal  fame: 
Amongst  the  rest,  fair  Atalanta  came,  470 

Grace  of  the  woods ;  a  diamond  buckle  bound 
Her  vest  behind,  that  else  had flow'd  upon  the  ground, 
And  shew'd  her  buskin'd  legs ;  her  head  was  bare, 
But  for  her  native  ornament  of  hair  ; 
Which  in  a  simple  knot  was  tied  above,  475 

Sweet  negligence  !  unheeded  bait  of  love ! 
Her  sounding  quiver,  on  her  shoulder  tied, 
One  hand  a  dart,  and  one  a  bow  supply'd. 
Such  was  her  face,  as  in  a  nymph  display'd 
A  fair  fierce  boy,  or  in  a  boy  betray'd  480 

The  blushing  beauties  of  a  modest  maid. 
The  Calidonian  chief  at  once  the  dame 
Beheld,  at  once  his  heart  receiv'd  the  flame, 
With  heav'ns  averse.    O  happy  youth  (he  cry'd), 
For  whom  the  fates  reserve  so  fair  a  bride !  485 

He  sigh'd,  and  had  no  leisure  more  to  say ; 

*  Amphiaraus. 


His  honour  calPd  his  eyes  another  way, 

And  forced  him  to  pursue  the  now  neglected  prey. 

There  stood  a  forest  on  a  mountain's  brow, 
Which  overlook'd  the  shaded  plains  below ;  490 

No  sounding  axe  presum'd  those  trees  to  bite ; 
Coeval  with  the  world,  a  venerable  sight. 
The  heroes  there  arriv'd;  some  spread  around 
The  toils;  some  search  the  footsteps  on  the  ground: 
Some  from  the  chains  the  faithful  dogs  unbound.  495 
Of  action  eager,  and  intent  in  thought, 
The  chiefs  their  honourable  danger  sought : 
A  valley  stood  below ;  the  common  drain 
Of  waters  from  above,  and  falling  rain  : 
The  bottom  was  a  moist  and  marshy  ground,  500 

Whose  edges  were  with  bending  osiers  crown'd : 
The  knotty  bulrush  next  in  order  stood, 
And  all  within  of  reeds  a  trembling  wood. 

From  hence  the  boar  was  rous'd,  and  sprang  amain , 
Like  lightning  sudden,  on  the  warrior  train;  505 

Beats  down  the  trees  before  him,  shakes  the  ground, 
The  forest  echoes  to  the  crackling  sound ; 
Shout  the  fierce  youth,  and  clamours  ring  around. 
All  stood  with  their  protended  spears  prepar'd, 
With  broad  steel  heads  the  brandish'd  weapons  glar'd. 
The  beast  impetuous  with  his  tusks  aside  51 1 

Deals  glancing  wounds;  the  fearful  dogs  divide: 
All  spend  their  mouths  aloof,  but  none  abide. 
Echion  threw  the  first,  but  miss'd  his  mark, 
And  stuck  his  boar-spear  on  a  maple's  bark.  515 

Then  Jason;  and  his  jav'lin  seem'd  to  take, 
But  fail'd  with  over-force,  and  whizz'd  above  his  back. 
Mopsus  was  next :  but,  ere  he  threw,  address'd 
To  Phoebus,  thus:  O  patron,  help  thy  priest: 
If  I  adore,  and  ever  have  ador'd  520 

Thy  pow'r  divine,  thy  present  aid  afford ; 
That  I  may  reach  the  beast.    The  god  allow'd 
His  pray'r,  and  smiling,  gave  him  what  he  could  : 
He  reach'd  the  savage,  but  no  blood  he  drew, 
Dian  unarm'd  the  jav'lin  as  it  flew.  5'2;> 

This  chaf'd  the  boar,  his  nostrils  fiames  expire, 
And  his  red  eye-balls  roll,  with  living  fire. 
Whirl'd  from  a  sling,  or  from  an  engine  thrown, 

BOOK  VIII.  201 

Amid  the  foes,  so  flies  a  mighty  stone, 

As  flew  the  beast :  the  left  wing  put  to  flight,        530 

The  chiefs  o'erbome,  he  rushes  on  the  right. 

Eupalamos  and  Pelagon  he  laid 

In  dust,  and  next  to  death,  but  for  their  fellows'  aid. 

Onesimus  far'd  worse ;  prepar'd  to  fly, 

The  fatal  fang  drove  deep  within  his  thigh,  535 

And  cut  the  nerves :  the  nerves  no  more  sustain 

The  bulk ;  the  bulk  unpropp'd,  falls  headlong  on  the 

Nestor  had  fail'd  the  fall  of  Troy  to  see,         [plain. 
But,  leaning  on  his  lance,  he  vaulted  on  a  tree; 
Then  gath'ring  up  his  feet,  look'd  down  with  fear, 
And  thought  his  monstrous  foe  was  still  too  near.  541 
Against  a  stump  his  tusk  the  monster  grinds, 
And  in  the  sharpen'd  edge  new  vigour  finds. 
Then,  trusting  to  his  arms,  young  Othrys  found, 
And  ranch'd  his  hips  with  one  continu'd  wound.  5 15 

Now  Leda's  twins,  the  future  stars,  appear ; 
White  were  their  habits,  white  their  horses  were: 
Conspicuous  both,  and  both  in  act  to  throw 
Their  trembling  lances,  brandish'd,  at  the  foe  : 
Nor  had  they  miss'd;  but  he  to  thickets  fled,  550 

Conceal'dfrom  aiming  spears,  not  pervious  to  the  steed. 
But  Telamon  rush'd  in,  and  happ'd  to  meet 
A  rising  root,  that  held  his  fasten'd  feet; 
So  down  he  fell,  whom,  sprawling  on  the  ground, 
His  brother  from  the  wooden  gyves  unbound.         555 

Meantime  the  virgin  huntress  was  not  slow 
T'  expel  the  shaft  from  her  contracted  bow ; 
Beneath  his  ear  the  fastened  arrow  stood, 
And  from  the  wound  appear'd  the  trickling  blood. 
She  blush'd  for  joy:  but  Meleagrus  rais'd  560 

His  voice  with  loud  applause,  and  the  fair  archer 
He  was  the  first  to  see,  and  first  to  shew  [prais'd. 

His  friends  the  marks  of  the  successful  blow. 
Nor  shall  thy  valour  want  the  praises  due, 
He  said.    A  virtuous  envy  seiz'd  the  crew  :  565 

They  shout;  the  shouting  animates  their  hearts, 
And  all  at  once  employ  their  thronging  darts: 
But  out  of  order  thrown,  in  air  they  join, 
And  multitude  makes  frustrate  the  design. 
With  both  his  hands  the  proud  Ancasus  takes,        570 
K  2 


And  flourishes  his  double-biting  axe ; 

Then,  forward  to  his  fate,  he  took  a  stride 

Before  the  rest,  and  to  his  fellows  cry'd : 

Give  place,  and  mark  the  difference  if  you  can, 

Between  a  woman  warrior,  and  a  man :  575 

The  boar  is  doom'd ;  nor  though  Diana  lend 

Her  aid,  Diana  can  her  beast  defend. 

Thus  boasted  he ;  then  stretch'd,  on  tiptoe  stood, 

Secure  to  make  his  empty  promise  good. 

But  the  more  wary  beast  prevents  the  blow,  59% 

And  upward  rips  the  groin  of  his  audacious  foe. 

Ancasus  falls ;  his  bowels  from  the  wound 

Rush  out,  and  clotted  blood  distains  the  ground. 

Perithous,  no  small  portion  of  the  war, 
Press'd  on,  and  shook  his  lance :  to  whom  from  far, 
Thus  Theseus  cry'd :  O  stay,  my  better  part,  586 

My  more  than  mistress;  of  my  heart,  the  heart. 
The  strong  may  fight  aloof;  Ancasus  try'd 
His  force  too  near,  and  by  presuming  died. 
He  said,  and  while  he  spake,  his  jav'lin  threw ;      500 
Hissing  in  air  the  unerring  weapon  flew; 
But  on  an  arm  of  oak,  that  stood  betwixt 
The  marksman  and  the  mark,  his  lance  he  fix'd. 

Once  more  bold  Jason  threw,  but  fail'd  to  wound 
The  boar,  and  slew  an  undeserving  hound,  595 

And  through  the  dog  the  dart  was  nail'd  to  ground. 

Two  spears  from  Meleager's  hand  were  sent, 
With  equal  force,  but  various  in  th'  event: 
The  first  was  fix'd  in  earth,  the  second  stood 
On  the  boar's  bristled  back,  and  deeplydrank  his  blood. 

Now  while  the  tortur'd  savage  turns  around,      601 
And  flings  about  his  foam,  impatient  of  the  wound, 
That  wound's  great  author  close  at  hand  provokes 
His  rage,  and  plies  him  with  redoubled  strokes ; 
Wheels  as  he  wheels;  and,  with  his  pointed  dart,  605 
Explores  the  nearest  passage  to  his  heart. 
Quick  and  more  quick  he  spins,  in  giddy  gires, 
Then  falls,  and  in  much  foam  his  soul  expires. 
This  act  with  shouts  heav'n-high  the  friendly  band 
Applaud,  and  strain  in  theirs  the  victor's  hand.      610 
Then  all  approach'd  the  slain,  with  vast  surprise, 
Admire  on  what  a  breadth  of  earth  he  lies, 

BOOK  VIII.  203 

And  scarce  secure,  reach  out  their  spears  afar, 
And  blood  theirpoints,toprove  theirpartnership  of  war. 
But  he,  the  conqu'ring  chief,  his  foot  impress'd   C15 
On  the  strong  neck  of  that  destructive  beast; 
And  gazing  on  the  nymph  with  ardent  eyes, 
Accept  (said  he),  fair  Nonacrine,  my  prize, 
And,  though  inferior,  suffer  me  to  join 
My  labours,  and  my  part  of  praise,  with  thine :        G20 
At  this,  presents  her  with  the  tusky  head 
And  chine,  with  rising  bristles  roughly  spread. 
Glad,  she  receiv'd  the  gift;  and  seem'd  to  take 
With  double  pleasure,  for  the  giver's  sake. 
The  rest  were  seiz'd  with  sullen  discontent,  625 

And  a  deaf  murmur  through  the  squadron  went: 
All  envy'd;  but  the  Thestyan  brethren  shew'd 
The  least  respect,  and  thus  they  vent  their  spleen  aloud  : 
Lay  down  those  honour'd  spoils,  nor  think  to  share, 
Weak  woman  as  thou  art,  the  prize  of  war  :  630 

Ours  is  the  title,  thine  a  foreign  claim, 
Since  Meleagrus  from  our  lineage  came. 
Trust  not  thy  beauty;  but  restore  the  prize, 
Which  he,  besotted  on  that  face  and  eyes, 
Would  rend  from  us. — At  this,  inflam'd  with  spite, 
From  her  they  snatch  the  gift,  from  him  the  giver's 
right.  636 

But  soon  th'  impatient  prince  his  falchion  drew, 
And  cry'd,  Ye  robbers  of  another's  due, 
Now  learn  the  diflf'rence,  at  your  proper  cost, 
Betwixt  true  valour  and  an  empty  boast. —  C40 

At  this  advanc'd,  and  sudden  as  the  word, 
In  proud  Plexippns'  bosom  plung'd  the  sword : 
Toxeus  amaz'd,  and  with  amazement  slow, 
Or  to  revenge,  or  ward  the  coming  blow,  C44 

Stood  doubting ;  and  while  doubting  thus  he  stood, 
Receiv'd  the  steel  bath'd  in  his  brother's  blood. 

Pleas'd  with  the  first,  unknown  the  second  news, 
Althaea  to  the  temples  pays  their  dues 
For  her  son's  conquest ;  when  at  length  appear 
Her  grisly  brethren  stretch'd  upon  the  bier :  650 

Pale  at  the  sudden  sight,  she  chang'd  her  cheer, 
And  with  her  cheer,  her  robes ;  but  hearing  tell 
The  cause,  the  manner,  and  by  whom  they  fell, 


'Twas  grief  no  more,  or  grief  and  rage  were  one 
Within  her  soul ;  at  last,  'twas  rage  alone ;  655 

Which,  burning  upwards  in  succession,  dries 
The  tears,  that  stood  consid'ring  in  her  eyes. 

There  lay  a  log  unlighted  on  the  hearth, 
When  she  was  lab'ring  in  the  throes  of  birth, 
For  th'  unborn  chief:  the  fatal  sisters  came,  660 

And  rais'd  it  up,  and  toss'd  it  on  the  flame ; 
Then  on  the  rock  a  scanty  measure  place 
Of  vital  flax,  and  turn'd  the  wheel  apace ; 
And  turning  sung :  To  this  red  brand  and  thee, 
O  new-born  babe,  we  give  an  equal  destiny : —      665 
So  vanish'd  out  of  view.    The  frighted  dame 
Sprang  hasty  from  her  bed,  and  quench'd  the  flame ; 
The  log,  in  secret  lock'd,  she  kept  with  care ; 
And  that,  while  thus  preserv'd,  preserv'd  her  heir. 

This  brand  she  now  produc'd;  and  first  she  strews 
The  hearth  with  heaps  of  chips,  and  after  blows:    671 
Thrice  heav'd  her  hand,  and  heav'd,  she  thrice  re- 
The  sister,  and  the  mother  long  contest,         [press'd ; 
Two  doubtful  titles,  in  one  tender  breast : 
And  now  her  eyes  and  cheeks  with  fury  glow,        675 
Now  pale  her  cheeks,  her  eyes  with  pity  flow : 
Now  low'ring  looks  presage  approaching  storms, 
And  now  prevailing  love  her  face  reforms ; 
Resolv'd,  6he  doubts  again;  the  tears  she  dry'd 
With  burning  rage,  are  by  new  tears  supplied;       680 
And  as  a  ship,  which  wind  and  waves  assail, 
Now  with  the  current  drives,  now  with  the  gale, 
Both  opposite,  and  neither  long  prevail ; 
She  feels  a  double  force,  by  turns  obeys 
TV  imperious  tempest,  and  th'  impetuous  seas :      685 
So  fares  Althaea's  mind;  she  first  relents 
With  pity;  of  that  pity  then  repents. 
Sister,  and  mother,  long  the  scales  divide ; 
But  the  beam  nodded  on  the  sister's  side : 
Sometimes  she  softly  sigh'd,  then  roar'd  aloud;      606 
But  sighs  were  stifled  in  the  cries  of  blood. 

The  pious,  impious  wretch  at  length  decreed, 
To  please  her  brothers'  ghosts,  hereon  should  bleed: 
And  when  the  fun'ral  flames  began  to  rise, 

BOOK  VIII.  205 

Receive  (she  said)  a  sister's  sacrifice ;  695 

A  mother's  bowels  burn:  high  in  her  hand, 

Thus  while  sbe  spoke,  she  held  the  fatal  brand ; 

Then  thrice  before  the  kindled  pile  she  bow'd, 

And  the  three  Furies  thus  invok'd  aloud: 

Come,  come,  revenging  sisters,  come,  and  view       700 

A  sister  paying  her  dead  brother's  due : 

A  crime  I  punish,  and  a  crime  commit, 

But  blood  for  blood,  and  death  for  death  is  fit: 

Great  crimes  must  be  with  greater  crimes  repaid, 

And  second  fun'rals  on  the  former  laid.  705 

Let  the  whole  household  in  one  ruin  fall, 

And  may  Diana's  curse  o'ertake  us  all ! 

Shall  fate  to  happy  Qineus  still  allow 

One  son,  while  Thestius  stands  depriv'd  of  two? 

Better  three  lost,  than  one  unpunish'd  go.  710 

Take,  then,  dear  ghosts  (while  yet  admitted  new 

In  hell,  you  wait  my  duty),  take  your  due: 

A  costly  off  ring  on  your  tomb  is  laid, 

When  with  my  blood  the  price  of  yours  is  paid. — 

Ah!  whither  am  I  hurry 'd?  Ah  forgive,  715 

Ye  shades,  and  let  your  sister's  issue  live : 

A  mother  cannot  give  him  death;  though  he 

Deserves  it,  he  deserves  it  not  from  me : — 

Then  shall  th'  unpunish'd  wretch  insult  the  slain, 

Triumphant  live;  nor  only  live,  but  reign?  720 

While  you,  thin  shades,  the  sport  of  winds,  are  tost 

O'er  dreary  plains,  or  tread  the  burning  coast. 

I  cannot,  cannot  bear ;  'tis  past,  'tis  done ; 

Perish  this  impious,  this  detested  son ; 

Perish  his  sire,  and  perish  I  withal;  725 

And  let  the  house's  heir,  and  the  hop'd  kingdom  fall ! 

Where  is  the  mother  fled,  her  pious  love, 

And  where  the  pains  with  which  ten  months  I  strove ! 

Ah!  hadst  thou  died,  my  son,  in  infant  years, 

Thy  little  hearse  had  been  bedew'd  with  tears. —  730 

Thou  liv'st  by  me  ;  to  me  thy  breath  resign ; 

Mine  is  the  merit,  the  demerit  thine. 

Thy  life  by  double  title  I  require  ; 

Once  giv'n  at  birth,  and  once  preserv'd  by  fire; 

One  murder  pay,  or  add  one  murder  more,  735 

And  me  to  them  who  fell  by  thee  restore. — 


I  would,  but  cannot :  my  son's  image  stands 
Before  my  sight ;  and  now  their  angry  hands 
My  brothers  hold,  and  vengeance  these  exact, 
This  pleads  compassion,  and  repents  the  fact. —     740  , 
He  pleads  in  vain,  and  I  pronounce  his  doom  : 
My  brothers,  though  unjustly,  shall  o'ercome : 
But  having  paid  their  injur'd  ghosts  their  due, 
My  son  requires  my  death,  and  mine  shall  his  pursue. 
At  this,  for  the  last  time,  she  lifts  her  hand,        745 
A. verts  her  eyes,  and,  half  unwilling,  drops  the  brand. 
The  brand,  amid  the  naming  fuel  thrown, 
Or  drew,  or  seem'd  to  draw,  a  dying  groan  : 
The  fire3  themselves  but  faintly  lick'd  their  prey, 
Then   loath'd  their  impious   food,   and  would  have 
shrunk  away.  750 

Just  then  the  hero  cast  a  doleful  cry, 
And  in, those  absent  flames  began  to  fry: 
The  blind  contagion  rag'd  within  his  veins; 
But  he  with  manly  patience  bore  his  pains: 
He  fear'd  not  fate,  but  only  griev'd  to  die  755 

Without  an  honest  wound,  and  by  a  death  so  dry. 

Happy  Ancaeus  (thrice  aloud  he  o.ry'dj, 
With  what  becoming  fate  in  arms  he  dy'd  ! 
Then  call'd  his  brothers,  sisters,  sire  around, 
And  her  to  whom  his  nuptial  vows  were  bound;     760 
Perhaps  his  mother;  a  long  sigh  he  drew, 
And,  his  voice  failing,  took  his  last  adieu : 
For,  as  the  flames  augment,  and  as  they  stay 
At  their  full  height,  then  languish  to  decay, 
They  rise  and  sink  by  fits ;  at  last  they  soar  765 

In  one  bright  blaze,  and  then  descend  no  more : 
Just  so  his  inward  heats,  at  height  impair, 
Till  the  last  burning  breath  shoots  out  the  soul  in  air. 
Now  lofty  Calidon  in  ruins  lies ;  769 

All  ages,  all  degrees  unsluice  their  eyes ;      [and  cries. 
\nd  heav'n  and  earth  resound  with  murmurs,  groans, 
Matrons  and  maidens  beat  their  breasts,  and  tear 
Their  habits,  and  root  up  their  scatter'd  hair : 
The  wretched  father  (father  now  no  more), 
With  sorrow  sunk,  lies  prostrate  on  the  floor,         775 
Deforms  his  hoary  locks  with  dust  obscene, 
And  curses  age,  and  loaths  a  life  prolong'd  with  pain. 

BOOK  VIII.  207 

By  steel  her  stubborn  soul  his  mother  freed, 
And  punish'd  on  herself  her  impious  deed. 

Had  I  a  hundred  tongues,  a  wit  so  large  780 

As  could  their  hundred  offices  discharge ; 
Had  Phoebus  all  his  Helicon  bestowM 
In  all  the  streams,  inspiring  all  the  god ;  [vain 

Those  tongues,  that  wit,  those  streams,  that  god  in 
Would  offer  to  describe  his  sisters'  pain  :  785 

They  beat  their  breasts  with  many  a  bruising  blow, 
Till  they  turn  livid,  and  corrupt  the  snow. 
The  corse  they  cherish,  while  the  corse  remains, 
And  exercise,  and  rub,  with  fruitless  pains; 
And  when  to  fun'ral  flames  'tis  borne  away,  790 

They  kiss  the  bed  on  which  the  body  lay  : 
And  when  those  fun'ral  flames  no  longer  burn 
(The  dust  compos'd  within  a  pious  urn), 
E'en  in  that  urn  their  brother  they  confess,  794 

And  hug  it  in  their  arms,  and  to  their  bosoms  press. 

His  tomb  is  rais'd ;  then,  stretch'd  along  the  ground, 
Those  living  monuments  his  tomb  surround. 
E'en  to  his  name,  inscrib'd,  their  tears  they  pay, 
Till  tears,  and  kisses-wear  his  name  away. 

But  C  ynthia  now  had  all  her  fury  spent,  800 

Not  with  less  ruin  than  a  race  content: 
Excepting  Gorge,  perish'd  all  the  seed, 
And  *  her  whom  heav'n  for  Hercules  decreed. 
Satiate  at  last,  no  longer  she  pursu'd 
The  weeping  sisters  ;  but  with  wings  endu'd,  80S 

And  horny  beaks,  and  sent  to  flit  in  air; 
Who  yearly  round  the  tomb  in  feather'd  flocks  repair. 

Theseus  meanwhile  acquitting  well  his  share 
In  the  bold  chase  confed'rate  like  a  war, 
To  Athens'  lofty  tow'rs  his  march  ordain'd,  810 

By  Pallas  lov'd,  and  where  Erectheus  reign'd. 
But  Acheloiis  stopp'd  him  on  the  way, 
By  rains  a  deluge,  and  constrain'd  his  stay. 

O  fam'd  for  glorious  deeds,  and  great  by  blood, 
Rest  here  (says  he),  nor  trust  the  rapid  flood;         81 » 
Its  solid  oaks  has  from  its  margin  tore, 
And  rocky  fragments  down  its  current  bore, 
*  Deianira. 


The  murmur  hoarse,  and  terrible  the  roar. 
Oft  have  I  seen  herds  with  their  sheltering  fold 
Forc'd  from  the  hanks,  and  in  the  torrent  roll'd ;   820 
Nor  strength  the  bulky  steer  from  ruin  freed, 
Nor  matchless  swiftness  sav'd  the  racing  steed. 
In  cataracts,  when  the  dissolving  snow 
Falls  from  the  hills,  and  floods  the  plains  below; 
Toss'd  by  the  eddies,  with  a  giddy  round,  825 

Strong  youths  are  in  the  sucking  whirlpools  drown'd. 
'Tis  best  with  me  in  safety  to  abide, 
Till  usual  bounds  restrain  the  ebbing  tide, 
And  the  low  waters  in  their  channel  glide. 

Theseus  persuaded,  in  compliance  bow'd;  820 

So  kind  an  offer,  and  advice  so  good, 
O  Achelous,  cannot  be  refus'd ; 
111  use  them  both,  said  he ; — and  both  he  us'd. 

The  grot  he  enter'd,  pumice  built  the  hall, 
And  tophi  made  the  rustic  of  the  wall ;  835 

The  floor,  soft  moss,  an  humid  carpet  spread, 
And  various  shells,  the  chequer'd  roof  inlaid. 
'Twas  now  the  hour  when  the  declining  sun 
Two  thirds  had  of  his  daily  journey  run; 
At  the  spread  table  Theseus  took  his  place,  810 

Next  his  companions  in  the  daring  chase : 
Perithoiis  here,  there  elder  Lelex  lay, 
His  locks  betraying  age,  with  sprinkled  gray. 
Acharnia's  river-god  dispos'd  the  rest, 
Grac'd  with  the  equal  honour  of  the  feast,  S4.5 

Elate  with  joy,  and  proud  of  such  a  guest. 
The  nymphs  were  waiters,  and,  with  naked  feet, 
In  order  serv'd  the  courses  of  the  meat. 
The  banquet  done,  delicious  wine  they  brought; 
Of  one  transparent  gem  the  cup  was  wrought.         850 

Then  the  great  hero  of  this  gallant  train, 
Surveying  far  the  prospect  of  the  main ; 
What  is  that  land  (says  he),  the  waves  embrace? 
(And  with  his  finger  pointed  at  the  place;) 
Is  it  one  parted  isle  which  stands  alone  f  8  35 

How  nam'd?  and  yet  methinks  it  seems  not  one. 

To  whom  the  wat'ry  god  made  this  reply : 
'Tis  not  one  isle,  but  five ;  distinct  they  lie; 
'Tis  distance  which  deceives  the  cheated  eye. 

BOOK  VIII.  209 

But,  that  Diana's  act  may  seem  less  strange,  860 

These  once  proud  Naiads  were,  before  their  change. 

'Twas  on  a  day  more  solemn  than  the  rest, 

Ten  bullocks  slain,  a  sacrificial  feast, 

The  rural  gods  of  all  the  region  near 

They  bid  to  dance,  and  taste  the  hallow'd  cheer.    865 

Me  they  forgot ;  affronted  with  the  slight, 

My  rage,  and  stream  swell'd  to  the  greatest  height; 

And  with  the  torrent  of  my  flooding  store, 

Large  woods  from  woods,  and  fields  from  fields  I  tore. 

The  guilty  nymphs,  oh  !  then,  rememb'ring  me,     870 

I,  with  their  country,  wash'd  into  the  sea ; 

And  joining  waters  with  the  social  main, 

Rent  the  gross  land,  and  split  the  firm  champaign. 

Since  the  Echinades,  remote  from  shore 

Are  view'd  as  many  isles,  as  nymphs  before.  875 

But  yonder  far,  lo,  yonder  does  appear 
An  isle,  apart  to  me  for  ever  dear, 
From  that  (it  sailors  Perimele  name) 
I  doating,  forc'd  by  rape  a  virgin's  fame. 
Hippodamas's  passion  grew  so  strong,  880 

Gall'd  with  th'  abuse,  and  fretted  at  the  wrong, 
He  threw  his  pregnant  daughter  from  a  rock ; 
I  spread  my  waves  beneath,  and  broke  the  shock ; 
And  as  her  swimming  weight  my  stream  convey'd, 
I  3u'd  for  help  divine,  and  thus  I  pray'd  :  835 

O  pow'rful  Thou,  whose  trident  does  command 
The  realm  of  waters,  which  surround  the  land ; 
We  sacred  rivers,  wheresoe'er  begun, 
End  in  thy  lot,  and  to  thy  empire  run, 
With  favour  hear,  and  help  with  present  aid ;         890 
Her  whom  I  bear,  'twas  guilty  I  betray'd. 
Yet  if  her  father  had  been  just,  or  mild, 
He  would  have  been  less  impious  to  his  child ; 
In  her,  have  pity'd  force  in  the  abuse ; 
In  me,  admitted  love  for  my  excuse.  895 

O,  let,  relief  for  her  hard  case  be  found, 
Her  whom  paternal  rage  expell'd  from  ground, 
Her  whom  paternal  rage  relentless  drown'd. 
Grant  her  some  place,  or  change  her  to  a  place, 
Which  I  may  ever  clasp  with  my  embrace.  900 


His  nodding  head  the  sea's  great  Ruler  bent, 

And  all  his  waters  shook  ■with  his  assent. 

The  nymph  still  swam,  though  with  the  fright  distrest. 

I  felt  her  heart  leap,  trembling  in  her  breast  : 

But  hard'ning  soon,  whilst  I  her  pulse  explore,      905 

A  crusting  earth  cas'd  her  stiff  body  o'er ; 

And,  as  accretions  of  new  cleaving  soil 

Enlarg'd  the  mass,  the  nymph  became  an  isle. 

Thus  Acheloiis  ends :  his  audience  hear 
With  admiration,  and  admiring,  fear  910 

The  pow'rs  of  heav'n;  except  Ixion's  son, 
Who  laugh'd  at  all  the  gods,  believ'd  in  none ; 
He  shook  his  impious  head,  and  thus  replies: 
These  legends  are  no  more  than  pious  lies ; 
You  attribute  too  much  to  heav'nly  sway,  915 

To  think  they  give  us  forms,  and  take  away. 

The  rest,  of  better  minds,  their  sense  declar'd 
Against  this  doctrine,  and  with  horror  heard. 
Then  Lelex  rose,  an  old,  experienc'd  man, 
And  thus  with  sober  gravity  began  :  920 

Heav'n's  pow'r  is  infinite;  earth,  air,  and  sea, 
The  manufactur'd  mass,  the  making  pow'r  obey ; 
By  proof  to  clear  your  doubt;  In  Phrygian  ground 
Two  neighb'ring  trees,  with  walls  encompass'd  rouuil, 
Stand  on  a  mod'rate  rise,  with  wonder  shewn,        9'25 
One  a  hard  oak,  a  softer  linden  one  : 
I  saw  the  place,  and  them,  by  Pittheus  sent 
To  Phrygian  realms,  my  grandsire's  government. 
Not  far  from  thence  is  seen  a  lake,  the  haunt 
Of  coots,  and  of  the  fishing  cormorant :  930 

Here  Jove  with  Hermes  came ;  but  in  disguise 
Of  mortal  men  conceal'd  their  deities ; 
One  laid  aside  his  thunder,  one  his  rod ; 
And  many  toilsome  steps  together  trod  : 
For  harbour  at  a  thousand  doors  they  knock'd ;      935 
Not  one  of  all  the  thousand  but  was  lock'd. 
At  last  an  hospitable  house  they  found ; 
A  homely  shed ;  the  roof,  not  far  from  ground, 
Was  thatch'd  with  reeds  and  straw  together  bound. 

There  Baucis  and  Philemon  liv'd,  and  there       940 
Had  liv'd  long  married,  and  a  happy  pair: 

BOOK  VIII.  211 

Now  old  in  love,  though  little  was  their  store, 

Inur'd  to  want,  their  poverty  they  bore, 

Nor  aim'd  at  wealth,  professing  to  be  poor. 

For  master,  or  for  servant,  here  to  call,  945 

Was  all  alike,  where  only  two  were  all ; 

Command  was  none,  where  equal  love  was  paid ; 

Or  rather  both  commanded,  both  obey*d. 

From  lofty  roofs  the  gods  repuls'd  before, 
Now  stooping,  enterM  through  the  little  door :        950 
The  man  (their  hearty  welcome  first  express'd) 
A  common  settle  drew  for  either  guest, 
Inviting  each  his  weary  limbs  to  rest : 
But  ere  they  sate,  officious  Baucis  lays 
Two  cushions  stufPd  with  straw,  the  seat  to  raise;  955 
Coarse,  but  the  best  she  had ;  then  rakes  the  load 
Of  ashes  from  the  hearth,  and  spreads  abroad 
The  living  coals  :  and,  lest  they  should  expire, 
With  leaves  and  bark  she  feeds  her  infant  fire : 
It  smokes;  and  then,  with  trembling  breath  she  blows, 
Till  in  a  cheerful  blaze  the  flames  arose ;  961 

With  brush-wood  and  with  chips  she  strengthens  these, 
And  adds  at  last  the  boughs  of  rotten  trees. 
The  fire  thus  form'd,  she  sets  the  kettle  on 
(Like  burnish'd  gold  the  little  seether  shone) ;        965 
Next  took  the  coleworts  which  her  husband  got 
From  his  own  ground  (a  small  well  water'd  spot) ; 
She  stripp'd  the  stalks  of  all  their  leaves  ;  the  best 
She  cull'd,  and  them  with  handy  care  she  dress'd. 
High  o'er  the  hearth  a  chine  of  bacon  hung;  970 

Good  old  Philemon  seiz'd  it  with  a  prong, 
And  from  the  sooty  rafter  drew  it  down ; 
Then  cut  a  slice,  but  scarce  enough  for  one ; 
Yet  a  large  portion  of  a  little  store, 
Which,  for  their  sakes  alone,  he  wish'd  were  more. 
This  in  the  pot  he  plung'd  without  delay,  976 

To  tame  the  flesh,  and  drain  the  salt  away. 
The  time  between,  before  the  fire  they  sat, 
And  shorten'd  the  delay  by  pleasing  chat. 

A  beam  there  was,  on  which  a  beechen  pail         980 
Hung  by  the  handle,  on  a  driv'n  nail : 
This  fill'd  with  water,  gently  warm'd,  they  set 
Before  their  guests :  in  this  they  bath'd  their  feet, 


And  after  with  clean  towels  dried  their  sweat. 

This  done,  the  host  produc'd  the  genial  hed,  985 

Sallow  the  feet,  the  borders,  and  the  stead; 

Which  with  no  costly  coverlet  they  spread, 

But  coarse  old  garments  :  yet  such  robes  as  these 

They  laid  alone,  at  feasts,  or  holidays. 

The  good  old  housewife,  tucking  up  her  gown,        990 

The  table  sets  :  th'  invited  gods  lie  down. 

The  trivet-table  of  a  foot  was  lame, 

A  blot  which  prudent  Baucis  overcame, 

Who  thrusts  beneath  the  limping  leg  a  sherd, 

So  was  the  mended  board  exactly  rear'd :  995 

Then  rubb'd  it  o'er  with  newly  gather'd  mint, 

A  wholesome  herb  that  breath'd  a  grateful  scent. 

Pallas  began  the  feast,  where  first  was  seen 

The  parti-colour'd  olive,  black,  and  green  : 

Autumnal  cornels  next  in  order  serv'd,  1000 

In  lees  of  wine,  well  pickled  and  preserv'd. 

A  garden  salad  was  the  third  supply, 

Of  endive,  radishes,  and  succory: 

Then  curds  and  cream,  the  flow'r  of  country  fare, 

And  new-laid  eggs,  which  Baucis'  busy  care  1005 

Turn'd  by  a  gentle  fire,  and  roasted  rare. 

AH  these  in  earthen-ware  were  serv'd  to  board; 

And  next  in  place,  an  earthen  pitcher,  stor'd 

With  liquor  of  the  best  the  cottage  could  afford. 

This  was  the  table's  ornament,  and  pride,  1010 

With  figures  wrought:  like  pages  at  his  side 

Stood  beechen  bowls;  and  these  were  shining  clean, 

Varnished  with  wax  without,  and  lin'd  within. 

By  this  the  boiling  kettle  had  prepar'd, 

And  to  the  table  sent  the  smoking  lard;  1015 

On  which  with  eager  appetite  they  dine, 

A  sav'ry  bit,  that  serv'd  to  relish  wine : 

The  wine  itself  was  suiting  to  the  rest, 

Still  working  in  the  must,  and  lately  press'd. 

The  second  course  succeeds  like  that  before,  1020 

Plums,  apples,  nuts,  and  of  their  wintry  store 

Dry  figs,  and  grapes,  and  wrinkled  dates  were  set, 

In  canisters,  t'  enlarge  the  little  treat : 

All  these  a  milk-white  honey-comb  surround, 

Which  in  the  midst  the  country  banquet  crown'd  : . 

BOOK  VIII.  213 

But  the  kind  hosts  their  entertainment  grace        1026 
With  hearty  welcome,  and  an  open  face : 
In  all  they  did,  you  might  discern  with  ease, 
A  willing  mind,  and  a  desire  to  please. 

Meantime   the  beechen  bowls  went  round, 

and  still,  1030 

Though  often  emptied,  were  observed  to  fill : 
Fill'd  without  hands,  and  of  their  own  accord 
Ran  without  feet,  and  danc'd  about  the  board. 
Devotion  seiz'd  the  pair,  to  see  the  feast 
With  wine,  and  of  no  common  grape  increas'd ;    1085 
And  up  they  held  their  hands,  and  fell  to  pray'r, 
Excusing,  as  they  could,  their  country  fare. 

One  goose  they  had  ('twas  all  they  could  allow) ; 
A  wakeful  sentry,  and  on  duty  now ; 
Whom  to  the  gods  for  sacrifice  they  vow:  1040 

Her  with  malicious  zeal  the  couple  view'd; 
She  ran  for  life,  and  limping  they  pursu'd: 
Full  well  the  fowl  perceiv'd  the  bad  intent, 
And  would  not  make  her  master's  compliment ; 
But  persecuted,  to  the  Pow'rs  she  flies,  1045 

And  close  between  the  legs  of  Jove  she  lies; 
He,  with  a  gracious  ear,  the  suppliant  heard, 
And  sav'd  her  life;  then  what  he  was  declar'd, 
And  own'd  the  god.    The  neighbourhood  (said  he) 
Shall  justly  perish  for  impiety :  1050 

Ye  stand  alone  exempted :  but  obey 
With  speed,  and  follow  where  we  lead  the  way : 
Leave  these  accurst ;  and  to  the  mountain's  height 
Ascend ;  nor  once  look  backward  in  your  flight. 

They  haste,  and,  what  their  tardy  feet  deny'd,  1055 
The  trusty  staff"  (their  better  leg)  supply'd. 
An  arrow's  flight  they  wanted  to  the  top, 
And  there  secure,  but  spent  with  travel,  stop ; 
Then  turn  their  now  no  more  forbidden  eyes; — 
Lost  in  a  lake  the  floated  level  lies:  10 60 

A  wat'ry  desert  covers  all  the  plains ; 
Their  cot  alone,  as  in  an  isle,  remains. 
Wond'ring  with  weeping  eyes,  while  they  deplore 
Their  neighbours'  fate,  and  country  now  no  more, 
Their  little  shed,  scarce  large  enough  for  two,      10(55 


Seems,  from  the  ground  increas'd,  in  height  and  bulk 
A  stately  temple  shoots  within  the  skies,       [to  grow. 
The  crotchets  of  their  cot  in  columns  rise : 
The  pavement  polish'd  marble  they  behold,     [of  gold. 
The  gates  with  sculpture  grac'd,  the  spires  and  tiles 

Then  thus  the  sire  of  gods,  with  looks  serene:  1071 
Speak  thy  desire,  thou  only  just  of  men; 
And  thou,  O  woman,  only  worthy  found 
To  be  with  such  a  man  in  marriage  bound. 

Awhile  they  whisper ;  then  to  Jove  address'd,    1075 
Philemon  thus  prefers  their  joint  request : 
We  crave  to  serve  before  your  sacred  shrine, 
And  offer  at  your  altars  rites  divine: 
And  since  not  any  action  of  our  life 
Has  been  polluted  with  domestic  strife;  10SO 

We  beg  one  hour  of  death,  that  neither  she, 
With  widow's  tears,  may  live  to  bury  me, 
Nor  weeping  I,  with  wither'd  arms,  may  bear 
My  breathless  Baucis  to  the  sepulchre. 

The  godheads  sign  their  suit.    They  run  their  race 
In  the  same  tenour  all  th'  appointed  space :  108f> 

Then,  when  their  hour  was  come,  while  they  relate 
These  past  adventures  at  the  temple-gate. 
Old  Baucis  is  by  old  Philemon  seen 
Sprouting  with  sudden  leaves  of  sprightly  green: 
Old  Baucis  look'd  where  old  Philemon  stood,        1091 
And  saw  his  lengthened  arms  a  sprouting  wood ; 
New  roots  their  fasten'd  feet  begin  to  bind, 
Their  bodies  stiffen  in  a  rising  rind  : 
Then,  ere  the  bark  above  their  shoulders  grew,     1005 
They  give,  and  take  at  once  their  last  adieu. 
At  once,  Farewell,  O  faithful  spouse  !  they  said : 
At  once  th'  incroaching  rinds  their  closing  lips  invade. 
E'en  yet,  an  ancient  Tyanasan  shews 
A  spreading  oak,  that  near  a  linden  grows ;  1100 

The  neighbourhood  confirm  the  prodigy, 
Grave  men,  not  vain  of  tongue,  or  like  to  lie. 
I  saw  myself  the  garlands  on  their  boughs. 
And  tablets  hung  for  gifts  of  granted  vows; 
And,  off'ring  fresher  up,  with  pious  pray'r,  1 105 

The  good  (said  I)  are  God's  peculiar  care,  [share. 

And  such  as  honour  Heav'n,  shall  heav'nly  honour 

BOOK  VIII.  215 

He  ceas'd  in  his  relation  to  proceed; 
Whilst  all  admir'd  the  author  and  the  deed; 
But  Theseus,  most  inquisitive  to  know  1110 

From  gods  what  wondrous  alterations  grow. 
Whom  thus  the  Calidonian  stream  address'd, 
Rais'd  high  to  speak,  the  couch  his  elbow  press'd : 
Some,  when  transform'd,  fix  in  the  lasting  change ; 
Some  with  more  right,  through  various  figures  range. 
Proteus,  thus  large  thy  privilege  was  found,  1116 

Thou  inmate  of  the  seas,  which  earth  surround, 
Sometimes  a  blooming  youth  you  graced  the  shore; 
Oft  a  fierce  lion,  or  a  furious  boar; 
With  glist'ring  spires  now  seem'd  an  hissing  snake, 
The  bold  would  tremble  in  his  hands  to  take  ;        1121 
With  horns  assum'd  a  bull ;  sometimes  you  prov'd 
A  tree  by  roots,  a  stone  by  weight  unmovM ; 
Sometimes  two  wav'ring  contraries  became, 
Flow'd  down  in  water,  or  aspir'd  in  flame.  1125 


In  various  shapes  thus  to  deceive  the  eyes, 
Without  a  settled  stint  of  her  disguise, 
Rash  Erisichthon's  daughter  had  the  pow'r, 
And  brought  it  to  Autolicus  in  dow'r. 
Her  atheist  sire  the  slighted  gods  defy'd,  1130 

And  ritual  honours  to  their  shrines  deny'd. 
As  fame  reports,  his  hand  an  axe  sustain'd, 
Which  Ceres'  consecrated  grove  profan'd ; 
Which  durst  the  venerable  gloom  invade, 
And  violate,  with  light,  the  awful  shade.  1135 

An  ancient  oak  in  the  dark  centre  stood, 
The  covert's  glory,  and  itself  a  wood: 
Garlands  embrac'd  its  shaft,  and  from  the  boughs 
Hung  tablets,  monuments  of  prosp'rous  vows. 
In  the  cool  du3k  its  unpierc'd  verdure  spread        1140 
The  Dryads  oft  their  hallow'd  dances  led ; 
And  oft  when  round  their  gaging  arms  they  cast; 
Pull  fifteen  ells  it  measur'd  in  the  waist : 
Its  height  all  under  standards  did  surpass, 
As  they  aspir'd  above  the  humbler  grass.  1145 

These  motives  which  would  gentler  minds  restrain, 
Could  not  make  Triope's  bold  son  abstain ; 
He  sternly  charg'd  his  slaves  with  strict  decree, 


To  fell  with  gnashing  steel  the  sacred  tree. 

But  whilst  they  ling'ring,  his  commands  delay'd,  1150 

He  snatch'd  an  axe,  and  thus  blaspheming  said : 

Was  this  no  oak,  nor  Ceres'  fav'rite  care, 

But  Ceres'  self,  this  arm,  unaw'd  should  dare 

Its  leafy  honours  in  the  dust  to  spread, 

And  level  with  the  earth  its  airy  head.  1155 

He  spoke,  and  as  he  pois'd  a  slanting  stroke, 
Sighs  heav'd,  and  tremblings  shook  the  frighted  oak ; 
Its  leaves  look'd  sickly,  pale  its  acorns  grew, 
And  its  long  branches  sweat  a  chilly  dew. 
But  when  his  impious  hand  a  wound  bestow'd,      1 160 
Blood  from  the  mangled  bark  in  currents  flow'd. 
When  a  devoted  bull  of  mighty  size, 
A  sinning  nation's  grand  atonement,  dies, 
With  such  a  plenty  from  the  spouting  veins, 
A  crimson  stream  the  turfy  altar  stains.  1165 

The  wonder  all  amaz'd :  yet  one  more  bold, 
The  fact  dissuading,  strove  his  axe  to  hold  ; 
But  the  Thessalian,  obstinately  bent, 
Too  proud  to  change,  too  harden'd  to  repent, 
On  his  kind  monitor,  his  eyes,  which  burn'd         1170 
With  rage,  and  with  his  eyes  his  weapon  turn'd; 
Take  the  reward  (says  he)  of  pious  dread; — 
Then  with  a  blow  lopp'd  off  his  parted  head. 
No  longer  check'd,  the  wretch  his  crime  pursu'd, 
Doubled  his  strokes,  and  sacrilege  renew'd  ;  1175* 

When   from  the   groaning  trunk   a  voice  was 

heard, — 
'  A  Dryad  I,  by  Ceres'  love  preferr'd, 
Within  the  circle  of  this  clasping  rind 
Coeval  grew,  and  now  in  ruin  join'd  ; 
But  instant  vengeance  shall  thy  sin  pursue,  1 180 

And  death  is  cheer'd  with  this  prophetic  view.' 
At  last  the  oak  with  cords  enforc'd  to  bow, 
Strain'd  from  the  top,  and  sapp'd  with  wounds  below. 
The  humbler  wood,  partaker  of  its  fate,  1184 

Crush'd  with  its  fall,  and  shiver'd  with  its  weight. 

The  grove  destroy'd,  the  sister  Dryads  moan, 
Griev'd  at  its  loss,  and  frighted  at  their  own. 
Straight  suppliants  for  revenge,  to  Ceres  go, 
In  sable  weeds,  expressive  of  their  woe. 

BOOK  VIII.  217 

The  beauteous  goddess,  with  a  graceful  air,       1190 
Bow'd  in  consent,  and  nodded  to  their  pray'r. 
The  awful  motion  shook  the  fruitful  ground, 
And  wavM  the  fields  with  golden  harvests  crown'd. 
Soon  she  contrived  in  her  projecting  mind 
A  plague  severe,  and  piteous  in  its  kind  1195 

(If  plagues  for  crimes  of  such  presumptuous  height 
Could  pity  in  the  softest  breast  create); 
With  pinching  want,  and  hunger's  keenest  smart, 
To  tear  his  vitals,  and  corrode  his  heart. 
But  since  her  near  approach,  by  fate  's  denied      1200 
To  famine,  and  broad  climes  their  pow'rs  divide, 
A  nymph,  the  mountain's  ranger,  she  address'd, 
And  thus  resolv'd,  her  high  commands  express'd : 

Where  frozen  Scythia's  utmost  bound  is  plac'd, 
A  desert  lies,  a  melancholy  waste ;  1205 

In  yellow  crops  there  Nature  never  smil'd, 
No  fruitful  tree  to  shade  the  barren  wild: 
There  sluggish  Cold  its  icy  station  makes, 
There  Paleness  frights,  and  aguish  Trembling  shakes. 
Of  pining  Famine  this  the  fated  seat,  1210 

To  whom  my  orders  in  these  words  repeat : 
Bid  her  this  miscreant,  with  her  sharpest  pains, 
Chastise,  and  sheath  herself  into  his  veins ; 
Be  unsubdu'd  by  Plenty's  baffled  store, 
Reject  my  empire,  and  defeat  my  pow'r.  1215 

And,  lest  the  distance,  and  the  tedious  way, 
Should  with  the  toil,  and  long  fatigue  dismay, 
Ascend  my  chariot,  and  convey'd  on  high, 
Guide  the  rein'd  dragons  through  the  parting  sky. 

The  nymph,  accepting  of  the  granted  car,  1220 

Sprang  to  the  seat,  and  posted  through  the  air ; 
Nor  stopp'd  till  she  to  a  bleak  mountain  came, 
Of  wondrous  height,  and  Caucasus  its  name. 
There  in  a  stony  field,  the  fiend  she  found, 
Herbs  gnawing,  and  roots  scratching  from  the  ground. 
Her  elflock  hair  in  matted  tresses  grew ;  1226 

Sunk  were  her  eyes,  and  pale  her  ghastly  hue; 
Wan  were  her  lips,  and  foul  with  clammy  glue. 
Her  throat  was  furr'd,  her  guts  appear'd  within 
With  snaky  crawlings  thro'  her  parchment  skin.  1230 


Her  jutting  hips  seem'd  starting  from  their  place, 
And  for  a  belly  was  a  belly's  space. 
Her  dugs  hung  dangling  from  her  craggy  spine, 
Loose  to  her  breast,  and  fasten'd  to  her  chine ; 
Her  joints  protuberant  by  leanness  grown,  1235 

Consumption  sunk  the  flesh,  and  rais'd  the  bone. 
Her  knees'  large  orbits  bunch'd  to  monstrous  size, 
And  ancles  to  undue  proportion  rise. 

This  plague  the  nymph,  not  daring  to  draw  near, 
At  distance  hail'd,  and  greeted  from  afar.  1240 

And  though  she  told  her  charge  without  delay, 
Though  her  arrival  late,  and  short  her  stay, 
She  felt  keen  famine,  or  she  seem'd  to  feel, 
Invade  her  blood,  and  on  her  vitals  steal. 
She  turn'd  from  the  infection  to  remove,  1245 

And  back  to  Thessaly  the  serpents  drove. 

The  fiend  obey'd  the  goddess's  command 
(Though  their  effects  in  opposition  stand); 
She  cut  her  way,  supported  by  the  wind,  1249 

And  reach'd  the  mansion  by  the  nymph  assign'd. 

'Twas  night,  when  ent'ring  Erisichthon's  room, 
Dissolv'd  in  sleep,  and  thoughtless  of  his  doom, 
She  clasp'd  his  limbs,  by  impious  labour  tir'd, 
With  battish  wings,  but  her  whole  self  inspir'd; 
Breath'd  on  his  throat  and  chest  a  tainting  blast, 
And  in  his  veins  infus'd  an  endless  fast.  1250 

The  task  dispatch'd,  away  the  fury  flies 
From  plenteous  regions,  and  from  rip'ning  skies ; 
To  her  old  barren  north  she  wings  her  speed, 
And  cottages  distress'd  with  pinching  need.  12G0 

Still  slumbers  Erisichthon's  senses  drown, 
And  soothe  his  fancy  with  their  softest  down. 
He  dreams  of  viands  delicate  to  eat, 
And  revels  on  imaginary  meat;  1264 

Chews  with  his  working  mouth,  but  chews  in  vain, 
And  tires  his  grinding  teeth  with  fruitless  pain  ; 
Deludes  his  throat  with  visionary  fare, 
Feasts  on  the  wind,  and  banquets  on  the  air. 

The  morning  came,  the  night,  and  slumbers  past, 
But  still  the  furious  pangs  of  hunger  last;  1270 

The  cank'rous  rage  still  gnaws  with  griping  pains, 

BOOK  VIII.  219 

Stings  in  his  throat,  and  in  his  bowels  reigns. 
Straight  he  requires,  impatient  in  demand, 
Provisions  from  the  air,  the  seas,  the  land : 
But,  though  the  land,  air,  seas,  provisions  grant,  1275 
Starves  at  full  tables,  and  complains  of  want. 
What  to  a  people  might  in  dole  be  paid, 
Or  victual  cities  for  a  long  blockade, 
Could  not  one  wolfish  appetite  assuage; 
For,  glutting  nourishment  increas'd  its  rage.  1280 

As  rivers  pour'd  from  ev'ry  distant  shore, 
The  sea  insatiate  drinks,  and  thirsts  for  inore  : 
Or  as  the  fire,  which  all  materials  burns, 
And  wasted  forests  into  ashes  turns, 
Grows  more  voracious,  as  the  more  it  preys,  1285 

Recruits  dilate  the  flame,  and  spread  the  blaze  : 
So  impious  Erisichthon's  hunger  raves, 
Receives  refreshments,  and  refreshments  craves. 
Food  raises  a  desire  for  food,  and  meat 
Is  but  a  new  provocative  to  eat.  1290 

He  grows  more  empty,  as  the  more  supplied. 
And  endless  cramming  but  extends  the  void. 

Now  riches  hoarded  by  paternal  care 
Were  sunk,  the  glutton  swallowing  up  the  heii*. 
Yet  the  devouring  flame  no  stores  abate,  1295 

Nor  less  his  hunger  grew  with  his  estate. 
One  daughter  left,  as  left  his  keen  desire, 
A  daughter  worthy  of  a  better  sire  : 
Her  too  he  sold,  spent  nature  to  sustain  ; 
She  scorn'd  a  lord  with  generous  disdain,  1300 

And  flying,  spread  her  hands  upon  the  main. 
Then  pray'd:  Grant  thou,  I  bondage  may  escape, 
And  with  my  liberty  reward  thy  rape ; 
Repay  my  virgin  treasure  with  thy  aid  1304 

('Twas  Neptune  who  deflower'd  the  beauteous  maid). 

The  god  was  mov'd  at  what  the  fair  had  su'd  ; 
When  she,  so  lately  by  her  master  view'd 
In  her  known  figure,  on  a  sudden  took 
A  fisher's  habit,  and  a  manly  look. 
To  whom  her  owner  hasted  to  inquire;  1310 

O  thou  (said  he),  whose  baits  hide  treach'rous  wire ; 
Whose  art  can  manage,  with  experienc'd  skill 
The  taper  angle,  and  the  bobbing  quill, 


So  may  the  sea  be  ruffled  with  no  storm, 
But  smooth  with  calms,  as  you  the  truth  inform ; 
So  your  deceit  may  no  shy  fishes  feel,  1316 

Till  struck,  and  fasten'd  on  the  bearded  steel. 
Did  not  you,  standing,  view  upon  the  strand 
A  wand'ringmaid?     I'm  sure  I  saw  her  stand; 
Her  hair  disorder'd,  and  her  homely  dress  1320 

Betray'd  her  want,  and  witness'd  her  distress. 
Me,  heedless  (she  reply'd),  whoe'er  you  are, 
Excuse,  attentive  to  another  care. 
I  settled  on  the  deep  my  steady  eye, 
Fix'd  on  my  float,  and  bent  on  my  employ.  1325 

And  that  you  may  not  doubt  what  I  impart, 
So  may  the  ocean's  god  assist  my  art, 
If  on  the  beach  since  I  my  sport  pursu'd, 
Or  man,  or  woman  but  myself  I  view'd. 

Back  o'er  the  sands,  deluded,  he  withdrew,       1330 
Whilst  she  for  her  old  form  put  off  her  new. 

Her  sire,  her  shifting  pow'r  to  change  perceiv'd, 
And  various  chapmen  by  her  sale  deceiv'd. 
A  fowl,  with  spangled  plumes,  a  brinded  steer, 
Sometimes  a  crested  mare,  or  antler'd  deer:  1335 

Sold  for  a  price  she  parted,  to  maintain 
Her  starving  parent  with  dishonest  gain. 

At  last  all  means,  as  all  provisions,  fail'd; 
For  the  disease  by  remedies  prevail'd; 
His  muscles,  with  a  furious  bite,  he  tore,  1340 

Gorg'd  his  own  tatter'd  flesh,  and  gulp'd  his  gore. 
Wounds  were  his  feast,  his  life  to  life  a  prey, 
Supporting  nature  by  its  own  decay. 

But  foreign  stories  why  should  1  relate  1 
1,  too,  myself  can  to  new  forms  translate,  1315 

Though  the  variety  's  not  unconfin'd, 
But  fixt  in  number,  and  restrain'd  in  kind  : 
For  often  I  this  present  shape  retain, 
Oft  curl  a  snake  the  volumes  of  my  train. 
Sometimes  my  strength  into  my  horns  transferr'd, 
A  bull  I  march,  the  captain  of  the  herd.  1351 

But  whilst  I  once  those  goring  weapons  wore, 
Vast  wrestling  force  one  from  my  forehead  tore. 
Lo,  my  maim'd  brows  the  injury  still  own. 
He  ceas'd ;  his  words  concluding  with  a  groan.    1355 



The  story  of  Acheloiis  and  Hercules.  The  death  of  Nessus  the 
Centaur.  The  death  of  Hercules.  The  transformation  of  Ly- 
chas  into  a  rock.  The  apotheosis  of  Hercules.  The  transfor- 
mation of  Galanthis.  The  fable  of  Dryope.  Iolaiis  restored 
to  youth.  The  prophecy  of  Themis.  The  debate  of  the  Gods. 
The  passion  of  Byblis.    The  fable  of  Iphis  and  Iiinthe. 

Theseus  requests  the  god  to  tell  his  woes,       [arose  ? 

Whence  his  maim'd  brow,  and  whence  his  groans 

When  thus  the  Calidonian  stream  reply'd, 

With  twining  reeds  his  careless  tresses  tied : 

Ungrateful  is  the  tale;  for  who  can  bear,  5 

When  conquer'd,  to  rehearse  the  shameful  war? 

Yet  I'll  the  melancholy  story  trace ; 

So  great  a  conqu'ror  softens  the  disgrace  : 

Nor  was  it  still  so  mean  the  prize  to  yield, 

As  great  and  glorious  to  dispute  the  field.  10 

Perhaps  you've  heard  of  Deianira's  name, 
For  all  the  country  spoke  her  beauty's  fame. 
Long  was  the  nymph  by  num'rous  suitors  woo'd, 
Each  with  address  his  envied  hopes  pursu'd  : 
I  join'd  the  loving  band  ;  to  gain  the  fair,  '15 

Reveal' d  my  passion  to  her  father's  ear. 
Their  vain  pretensions  all  the  rest  resign, 
Alcides  only  strove  to  equal  mine; 
He  boasts  his  birth  from  Jove,  recounts  his  spoils, 
His  stepdame's  hate  subdu'd,  and  finish'd  toils.         20 

Can  mortal  then  (said  I)  with  gods  compare  ? 
Behold  a  god  ;  mine  is  the  wat'ry  care  : 
Through  your  wild  realms  I  take  my  mazy  way, 
Branch  into  streams,  and  o'er  the  region  stray  : 
No  foreign  guest  your  daughter's  charms  adores,     25 
But  one  who  rises  in  your  native  shores. 
Let  not  his  punishment  your  pity  move  ; 
Is  Juno's  hate  an  argument  for  love  ? 
Though  you  your  life  from  fair  Alcmena  drew, 
Jove's  a  feign'd  father,  or  by  fraud  a  true.  30 

Choose,  then;  confess  thy  mother's  honour  lost, 
Or  thy  descent  from  Jove  no  longer  boast. 


While  thus  I  spoke,  he  look'd  with  stem  disdain, 
Nor  could  the  sallies  of  his  wrath  restrain, 
Which  thus  break  forth  :  This  arm  decides  our  right : 
Vanquish  in  words,  he  mine  the  prize  in  fight.  36 

Bold  he  rush'd  on.     My  honour  to  maintain, 
I  fling  my  verdant  garments  on  the  plain, 
My  arms  stretch  forth,  my  pliant  limbs  prepare, 
And,  with  bent  hands,  expect  the  furious  war.         40 
O'er  my  sleek  skin  now  gather'd  dust  he  throws, 
And  yellow  sand  his  mighty  muscles  strews, 
Oft  he  my  neck  and  nimble  legs  assails, 
He  seems  to  grasp  me,  but  as  often  fails. 
Eavh  part  he  now  invades  with  eager  hand;  45 

Safe  in  my  bulk  immoveable  I  stand. 
So  when  loud  storms  break  high,  and  foam  and  roar 
Against  some  mole,  that  stretches  from  the  shore ; 
The  firm  foundation  lasting  tempests  braves, 
Defies  the  warring  winds  and  driving  waves.  50 

Awhile  we  breathe,  then  forward  rush  amain, 
Renew  the  combat,  and  our  ground  maintain ; 
Foot  strove  with  foot,  I  prone  extend  my  breast, 
Hands  war  with  hands, and  forehead  forehead  press'd. 
Thus  have  I  seen  two  furious  bulls  engage,  55 

Inflam'd  with  equal  love,  and  equal  rage : 
Each  claims  the  fairest  heifer  of  the  grove, 
And  conquest  only  can  decide  their  love  : 
The  trembling  herds  survey  the  fight  from  far, 
Till  victory  decides  the  important  war.  60 

Three  times,  in  vain,  he  strove  my  joints  to  wrest, 
To  force  my  hold,  and  throw  me  from  his  breast ; 
The  fourth  he  broke  my  gripe  that  clasp'd  him  round, 
Then,  with  new  force  he  stretch'd  me  on  the  ground  ; 
Close  to  my  back  the  mighty  burthen  clung,  65 

As  if  a  mountain  o'er  my  limbs  were  flung. 
Believe  my  tale  ;  nor  do  I,  boastful,  aim 
By  feign'd  narration  to  extol  my  fame. 
No  sooner  from  his  grasp  I  freedom  get, 
Unlock  my  arms  that  flow'd  with  trickling  sweat,    70 
But  quick  he  eeiz'd  me,  and  renew'd  the  strife, 
As  my  exhausted  bosom  pants  for  life : 
My  neck  he  gripes,  my  knee  to  earth  he  strains ; 
J  fall,  and  bite  the  sand  with  shame,  and  pains. 

BOOK  IX.  223 

O'ermatch'd  in  strength,  to  wiles  and  arts  I  take, 
And  slip  his  hold,  in  forni  of  speckled  snake ;  7G 

Who,  when  I  wreath'din  spires  my  body  round, 
Or  shew'd  my  forky  tongue,  with  hissing  sound, 
Smiles  at  my  threats ; — such  foes  my  cradle  knew, 
He  cries,  dire  snakes  my  infant  hand  o'erthrew ;      SO 
A  dragon's  form  might  other  conquests  gain  ; 
To  war  with  me,  you  take  that  shape  in  vain. 
Art  thou  proportion'd  to  the  hydra's  length, 
Who,  by  his  wounds,  recerv'd  augmented  strength? 
He  rais'd  a  hundred  hissing  heads  in  air,  85 

When  one  I  lopt,  up  sprang  a  dreadful  pair. 
By  his  wounds  fertile,  and  with  slaughter  strong, 
Singly  I  quell'd  him,  and  stretch'd  dead  along. 
What  canst  thou  do,  a  form  precarious,  prone, 
To  rouse  my  rage  with  terrors  not  thy  own  1  90 

He  3aid  ;  and  round  my  neck  his  hands  he  cast, 
And,  with  his  straining  fingers,  wrung  me  fast; 
My  throat  he  tortur'd,  close  as  pincers  clasp, 
In  vain  I  strove  to  loose  the  forceful  grasp. 

Thus  vanquish'd  too,  a  third  form  still  remains,    95 
Chang'd  to  a  bull,  my  lowing  fills  the  plains. 
Straight  on  the  left  his  nervous  arms  were  thrown 
Upon  my  brindled  neck,  and  tugg'd  it  down  ; 
Then  deep  he  struck  my  horn  into  the  sand, 
And  fell'd  my  bulk  among  the  dusty  land.  100 

Nor  yet  his  fury  cool'd;  'twixt  rage  and  scorn, 
From  my  maim'd  front  he  tore  the  stubborn  horn : 
This,  heap'd  with  flow'rs  and  fruits,  the  Naiads  bear, 
Sacred  to  plenty,  and  the  bounteous  year. 

He  spoke  ;  when  lo,  a  beauteous  nymph  appears, 
Girt  like  Diana's  train,  with  flowing  hairs ;  106 

The  horn  she  brings,  in  which  all  autumn  stov'd, 
And  ruddy  apples  for  the  second  board. 

Now  morn  begins  to  dawn,  the  sun's  bright  fire 
Gilds  the  high  mountains,  and  the  youths  retire  ;     110 
Nor  stay'd  they,  till  the  troubled  stream  subsides, 
And  in  its  bounds  with  peaceful  current  glides. 
But  Achelous  in  his  oozy  bed 
Deep  hides  his  brow  deform'd,  and  rustic  head : 
No  real  wound  the  victor's  triumphs  shew'd,  115 

But  his  lost  honours  griev'd  the  wat'ry  god ; 


Yet  e'en  that  loss  the  willow's  leaves  o'erspread; 
And  verdant  reeds,  in  garlands,  bind  his  head. 

This  virgin,  too,  thy  love,  O  Nessus,  found ; 
To  her  alone  you  owe  the  fatal  wound.  120 

As  the  strong  son  of  Jove  his  bride  conveys, 
Where  his  paternal  lands  their  bulwarks  raise  ; 
Where  from  her  slopy  urn  Evenus  pours 
Her  rapid  current,  swell'd  by  wint'ry  show'rs, 
He  came.    The  frequent  eddies  whirled  the  tide,    125 
And  the  deep-rolling  waves  all  pass  deny'd. 
As  for  himself,  he  stood  unmov'd  by  fears, 
For  now  his  bridal  charge  employ'd  his  cares. 
The  strong-limb'd  Nessus  thus  officious  cry'd 
(For  he  the  shallows  of  the  stream  had  try'd),        130 
Swim  thou,  Alcides,  all  thy  strength  prepare, 
On  yonder  bank  I'll  lodge  thy  nuptial  care. 

Th'  Abnian  chief  to  Nessus  trusts  his  wife, 
All  pale,  and  trembling  for  her  hero's  life  : 
Cloth'd  as  he  stood  in  the  fierce  lion's  hide,  135 

The  laden  quiver  o'er  his  shoulder  tied 
(For  cross  the  stream  his  bow  and  club  were  cast), 
Swift  he  plung'd  in ;  these  billows  shall  be  past, 
He  said;  nor  sought,  where  smoother  waters  glide, 
But  stemm'd  the  rapid  dangers  of  the  tide.  140 

The  bank  he  reach'd  ;  again  the  bow  he  bears  ; 
When, hark!  his  bride's  known  voice  alarms  his  ears. 
Nessus,  to  thee  I  call  (aloud  he  cries), 
Vain  is  thy  trust  in  flight,  be  timely  wise  : 
Thou  monster  double-shap'd,  my  right  set  free ;      145 
If  thou  no  rev'rence  owe  my  fame  and  me, 
Yet  kindred  should  thy  lawless  lust  deny  ; 
Think  not, perfidious  wretch,  from  me  to  fly, 
Though  wing'd  with  horse's  speed;  wounds  shall 

pursue : 
Swift  as  his  words,  the  fatal  arrow  flew  :  150 

The  Centaur's  back  admits  the  feather'd  wood, 
And  through  his  breast  the  barbed  weapon  stood ; 
Which,  when  in  anguish,  through  the  flesh  he  tore, 
From  both  the  wounds  gush'd  forth  the  spumy  gore, 
Mix'd  with  Lernaean  venom  ;  this  he  took,  155 

Nor  dire  revenge  his  dying  breast  forsook. 

BOOK  IX.  225 

His  garment,  in  the  reeking  purple  dy'd, 
To  rouse  love's  passion,  he  presents  the  bride. 

Now  a  long  interval  of  time  succeeds, 
When  the  great  son  of  Jove's  immortal  deeds,         ]  60 
And  stepdame's  hate  had  fill'd  earth's  utmost  round ; 
He  from  (Echalia,  with  new  laurels  crown'd, 
In  triumph  was  return'd.     He  rites  prepares, 
And  to  the  king  of  gods  directs  hi3  pray'rs  ; 
When  Fame  (who  falsehood  clothes  in  truth's  disguise, 
And  swells  her  little  bulk  with  growing  lies)  1GG 

Thy  tender  ear,  O  Deianira,  mov'd, 
That  Hercules  the  fair  lole  lov'd. 
Her  love  believes  the  tale;  the  truth  she  fears 
Of  his  new  passion,  and  gives  way  to  tears.  170 

The  flowing  tears  diffus'd  her  wretched  grief. 
Why  seek  I  thus,  from  streaming  eyes,  relief? 
She  cries ;  indulge  not  thus  these  fruitless  cares, 
The  harlot  will  but  triumph  in  thy  tears: 
Let  something  be  resolv'd,  while  yet  there's  time  j 
My  bed  not  conscious  of  a  rival's  crime.  176 

In  silence  shall  I  mourn,  or  loud  complain? 
Shall  I  seek  Calidon,  or  here  remain? 
What  though,  allied  to  Meleager's  fame, 
I  boast  the  honours  of  a  sister's  name  ?  180 

My  wrongs,  perhaps,  now  urge  me  to  pursue 
Some  desp'rate  deed,  by  which  the  world  shall  view 
How  far  revenge,  and  woman's  rage  can  rise, 
When,  welt'ring  in  her  blood,  the  harlot  dies. 

Thus  various  passions  rul'd  by  turns  her  breast,  185 
She  now  resolves  to  send  the  fatal  vest, 
Died  with  Lernsean  gore,  whose  pow'r  might  move 
His  soul  anew,  and  rouse  declining  love. 
Nor  knew  she  what  her  sudden  rage  bestows, 
When  she  to  Lychas  trusts  her  future  woes;  190 

With  soft  endearments  she  the  boy  commands, 
To  bear  the  garment  to  her  husband's  hands. 
Th*  unwitting  hero  takes  the  gift  in  haste, 
And  o'er  his  shoulders  Lerna's  poison  cast, 
As  first  the  fire  with  frankincense  he  strews,       ^   195 
And  utters  to  the  gods  his  holy  vows  ; 
And  on  the  marble  altar's  polish'd  frame 
L  2 


Pours  forth  the  grapy  stream ;  the  rising  flame 

Sudden  dissolves  the  subtle  pois'nous  juice, 

Which  taints  his  blood,  and  all  his  nerves  bedews. 

With  wonted  fortitude  he  bore  the  smart,  201 

And  not  a  groan  confess'd  his  burning  heart. 

At  length  his  patience  was  subdu'd  by  paia, 

He  rends  the  sacred  altar  from  the  plain  ; 

Gate's  wide  forests  echo  with  his  cries :  205 

Now  to  rip  off  the  deathful  robe  he  tries. 

Where'er  he  plucks  the  vest,  the  skin  he  tears, 

The  mangled  muscles,  and  huge  bones  he  bears, 

(A  ghastly  sight !)  or  raging  with  his  pain, 

To  rend  the  sticking  plague  he  tugs  in  vain.  210 

As  the  red  iron  hisses  in  the  flood, 
So  boils  the  venom  in  his  curdling  blood. 
Now  with  the  greedy  flame  his  entrails  glow, 
And  livid  sweats  down  all  his  body  flow  ; 
The  cracking  nerves,  burnt  up,  are  burst  in  twain,  215 
The  lurking  venom  melts  his  swimming  brain. 

Then,  lifting  both  his  hands  aloft,  he  cries: 
Glut  thy  revenge,  dread  empress  of  the  skies; 
Sate  with  my  death  the  rancour  of  thy  heart, 
Look  down  with  pleasure,  and  enjoy  my  smart.      220 
Or,  if  e'er  pity  mov'd  a  hostile  breast 
(For  here  I  stand  thy  enemy  profest), 
Take  hence  this  hateful  life,  with  tortures  torn, 
Inur'd  to  trouble,  and  to  labours  born. 
Death  is  the  gift  most  welcome  to  my  woe,  225 

And  such  a  gift  a  stepdame  may  bestow. 
Was  it  for  this  Busiris  was  subdu'd,  [blood  ? 

Whose  barb'rous  temples  reek'd  with  stranger's 
Press'd  in  these  arms,  his  fate  Antaeus  found, 
Nor  gain'd  recruited  vigour  from  the  ground.  230 

Did  I  not  triple-form'd  Geryon  fell  ? 
Or  did  I  fear  the  triple  dog  of  hell  ? 
Did  not  these  hands  the  bull's  arm'd  forehead  hold? 
Are  not  our  mighty  toils  in  Elis  told  ? 
Do  not  Stymphalian  lakes  proclaim  thy  fame?       235 
And  fair  Parthenian  woods  resound  thy  name? 
Who  seiz'd  the  golden  belt  of  Thermodon  ? 
And  who  the  dragon-guarded  apples  won  ?       [stand  ? 
Could  the  fierce  Centaur's  strength  my  force  with- 

BOOK  IX.  227 

Or  the  fell  boar  that  spoil'd  th'  Arcadian  land  1       240 
Did  not  these  arms  the  hydra's  rage  subdue, 
Who  from  his  wounds  to  double  fury  grew? 
What  if  the  Thracian  horses,  fat  with  gore, 
Who  human  bodies  in  their  mangers  tore, 
I  saw,  and,  with  their  barb'rous  lord,  o'erthrew?    246 
What  if  these  hands  Nemasa's  lion  slew  1 
Did  not  this  neck  the  heav'nly  globe  sustain  ? 
The  female  partner  of  the  Thund'rer's  reign 
Fatigu'd,  at  length  suspends  her  harsh  commands, 
Yet  no  fatigue  hath  slack'd  these  valiant  hands.     250 
But  now  new  plagues  pursue  me,  neither  force, 
Nor  arms,  nor  darts  can  stop  their  raging  course. 
Devouring  flame  through  my  rack'd  entrails  strays, 
And  on  my  lungs  and  shrivell'd  muscles  preys. 
Yet  still  Eurystheus  breathes  the  vital  air.  255 

What  mortal  now  shall  seek  the  gods  with  pray'r? 

The  hero  said  ;  and  with  the  torture  stung, 
Furious  o'er  Gate's  lofty  hills  he  sprung. 
Stuck  with  the  shaft,  thus  scours  the  tiger  round, 
And  seeks  the  flying  author  of  his  wound.  260 

Now  might  you  see  him  trembling,  now  he  rents 
His  anguish'd  soul  in  groans,  and  loud  laments; 
He  strives  to  tear  the  clinging  vest  in  vain, 
And  with  up-rooted  forests  strews  the  plain : 
Now  kindling  into  rage  his  hands  he  rears,  265 

And  to  his  kindred  gods  directs  his  pray'rs; 
When  Lychas,  lo,  he  spies;  who  trembling  flew, 
And  in  a  hollow  rock  conceal' d  from  view, 
Had  shunn'd  his  wrath.    Now  grief  renew'd  his  pain, 
His  madness  chaf'd,  and  thus  he  raves  again:         270 
Lychas,  to  thee  alone  my  fate  I  owe, 
Who  bore  the  gift,  the  cause  of  all  my  woe. 

The  youth  all  pale,  with  shiv'ring  fear  was  stung, 
And  vain  excuses  falter'd  on  his  tongue. 
Alcides  snatch'd  him,  as  with  suppliant  face  275 

He  strove  to  clasp  his  knees,  and  beg  for  grace: 
He  toss'd  him  o'er  his  head  with  airy  course, 
And  hurl'd  with  more  than  with  an  engine's  force. 
Far  o'er  th'  Eubcean  main  aloof  he  flies, 
And  hardens,  by  degrees,  amid  the  skies.  280 

So  show'ry  drops,  when  chilly  tempests  blow, 


Thicken  at  first,  then  whiten  into  snow ; 

In  balls  congeal'd  the  rolling  fleeces  hound, 

In  solid  hail  result  upon  the  ground.  284 

Thus  whirl'd  with  nervous  force  through  distant  air, 

The  purple  tide  forsook  his  veins,  with  fear ; 

All  moisture  left  his  limbs.    Transform'd  to  stone, 

In  ancient  days  the  craggy  flint  was  known ; 

Still  in  th'  Euboean  waves  his  front  he  rears, 

Still  the  small  rock  in  human  form  appears,  290 

And  still  the  name  of  hapless  Lychas  bears. 

But  now  the  hero  of  immortal  birth 
Fells  QSte's  forests  on  the  groaning  earth ; 
A  pile  he  builds  y  to  Philoctetes'  care 
He  leaves  his  deathful  instruments  of  war:  295 

To  him  commits  those  arrows,  which  again 
Shall  see  the  bulwarks  of  the  Trojan  reign. 
The  son  of  Paean  lights  the  lofty  pyre, 
High  round  the  structure  climbs  the  greedy  fire ; 
Plac'd  on  the  top,  thy  nervous  shoulders  spread     300 
With  the  Nemaean  spoils,  thy  careless  head 
Rais'd  on  the  knotty  club,  with  look  divine, 
Here  thou,  dread  hero,  of  celestial  line, 
Wert  stretch'd  at  ease  ;  as  when  a  cheerful  guest, 
Wine  crown'd  thy  bowls,  and  flow'rs  thy  temples 

dress'd.  305 

Now  on  all  sides  the  potent  flames  aspire, 
And  crackle  round  those  limbs  that  mock  the  fire  : 
A  sudden  terror  seiz'd  th'  immortal  host, 
Who  thought  the  world's  profest  defender  lost.        309 
This  when  the  Thund'rer  saw,  with  smiles  he  cries  : 
'Tis  from  your  fears,  ye  gods,  my  pleasures  rise ; 
Joy  swells  my  breast,  that  my  all-ruling  hand 
O'er  such  a  grateful  people  boasts  command, 
That  you  my  suffering  progeny  would  aid ; 
Though  to  his  deeds  this  just  respect  be  paid,  315 

Me  you've  oblig'd.     Be  all  your  fears  forborne, 
Th'  CEtean  fires  do  thou,  great  hero,  scorn. 
Who  vanquish'd  all  things,  shall  subdue  the  flame. 
That  part  alone  of  gross  maternal  frame 
Fire  shall  devour ;  while  what  from  me  he  drew    320 
Shall  live  immortal,  and  its  force  subdue; 

BOOK  IX.  229 

That,  when  he's  dead,  I'll  raise  to  realms  ahnve ; 

May  all  the  pow'rs  the  righteous  act  approve. 

If  any  god  dissent,  and  judge  too  great 

The  sacred  honours  of  the  heav'nly  seat,  325 

E'en  he  shall  own  his  deeds  deserve  the  sky, 

E'en  he  reluctant,  shall  at  length  comply. 

The  assembled  pow'rs  assent.     No  frown  till  now 

Had  mark'd  with  passion  vengeful  Juno's  brow. 

Meanwhile,  whate'er  was  in  the  pow'r  of  flame      330 

Was  all  consum'd ;  his  body's  nervous  frame 

No  more  was  known  ;  of  human  form  bereft, 

Th'  eternal  part  of  Jove  alone  was  left. 

As  an  old  serpent  casts  his  scaly  vest, 

Wreathes  in  the  sun,  in  youthful  glory  drest ;         335 

So  when  Alcides  mortal  mould  resign'd, 

His  better  .part  enlarg'd,  and  grew  refin'd  ; 

August  his  visage  shone ;  almighty  Jove 

In  his  swift  car  his  honour'd  offspring  drove  ; 

High  o'er  the  hollow  clouds  the  coursers  fly,  340 

And  lodge  the  hero  in  the  starry  sky. 

Atlas  perceiv'd  the  load  of  heav'n's  new  guest, 
Revenge  still  rancour'd  in  Eurystheus'  breast 
Against  Alcides'  race.    Alcmena  goes 
To  Ible,  to  vent  maternal  woes;  345 

Here  she  pours  forth  her  grief,  recounts  the  6poils 
Her  son  had  bravely  reap'd  in  glorious  toils. 
This  Idle,  by  Hercules  commands, 
Hyllus  had  lov'd,  and  join'd  in  nuptial  bands. 
Her  swelling  womb  the  teeming  birth  confess'd,     350 
To  whom  Alcmena  thus  her  speech  address'd : 

O,  may  the  gods  protect  thee  in  that  hour, 
When   'midst  thy   throes,  thou  call'st  th'   Ilithyan 
May  no  delays  prolong  thy  racking  pain,  [pow'r  ! 

As  when  I  su'd  for  Juno's  aid  in  vain.  355 

When  now  Alcides'  mighty  birth  drew  nigh, 
And  the  tenth  sign  roll'd  forward  on  the  sky, 
My  womb  extends  with  such  a  mighty  load, 
As  Jove,  the  parent  of  the  burthen,  shew'd. 
I  could  no  more  th'  increasing  smart  sustain,  360 

My  horror  kindles  to  recount  the  pain  ; 
Cold  chills  my  limbs  while  I  the  tale  pursue, 


And  now  methinks  I  feel  my  pangs  anew. 

Sev'n  days  and  nights,  amidst  incessant  throes, 

Fatigu'd  with  ills  I  lay,  nor  knew  repose ;  365 

When  lifting  high  my  hands,  in  shrieks  I  pray'd, 

Implor'd  the  gods,  and  call'd  Lucina's  aid. 

She  came,  but  prejudic'd,  to  give  my  fate 

A  sacrifice  to  vengeful  Juno's  hate. 

Sh«  hears  the  groaning  anguish  of  my  fits,  370 

And  on  the  altar  at  my  door  she  sits. 

O'er  her  left  knee  her  crossing  leg  she  cast, 

Then  knits  her  fingers  close,  and  wrings  them  fast: 

This  stay'd  the  birth ;  in  mutt'ring  verse  she  pray'd, 

The  mutt'ring  verse  th'  unfinish'd  birth  delay'd.      375 

»ow  with  fierce  struggles,  raging  with  my  pain, 

At  Jove's  ingratitude  I  rave  in  vain. 

How  did  I  wish  for  death!  such  groans  I  sent, 

As  might  have  made  the  flinty  heart  relent. 

Now  the  Cadmeian  matrons  round  me  press,      380 
Offer  their  vows,  and  seek  to  bring  redress ; 
Among  the  Theban  dames  Galanthis  stands, 
Strong  limb'd,  red-hair'd,  and  just  to  my  commands  : 
She  first  perceiv'd  that  all  these  racking  woes 
From  the  persisting  hate  of  Juno  rose.  385 

As  here  and  there  she  pass'd,  by  chance  she  sees 
The  seated  goddess  ;  on  her  close-prest  knees 
Her  fast-knit  hands  she  leans ;  with  cheerful  voice 
Galanthis  cries,  Whoe'er  thou  art,  rejoice; 
Congratulate  the  dame,  she  lies  at  rest,  390 

At  length  the  gods  Alcmena's  womb  have  blest. 
Swift  from  her  seat  the  startled  goddess  springs, 
No  more  conceal'd,  her  hands  abroad  she  flings; 
The  charm  unloos'd,  the  birth  my  pangs  reliev'd; 
Galanthis'  laughter  vex'd  the  pow'r  deceiv'd.  395 

Fame  says,  the  goddess  dragg'd  the  laughing  maid 
Fast  by  the  hair ;  in  vain  her  force  essay'd 
Her  grov'lling  body  from  the  ground  to  rear; 
Chang'd  to  forefeet  her  shrinking  arms  appear : 
Her  hairy  back  her  former  hue  retains,  400 

The  form  alone  is  lost,  her  strength  remains; 
Who,  since  the  lie  did  from  her  mouth  proceed, 
Shall  from  her  pregnant  mouth  bring  forth  her 

BOOK  IX.  231 

Nor  shall  she  quit  her  long-frequented  home, 

But  haunt  those  houses  where  she  loved  to  roam.  405 

She  said,  and  for  her  lost  Galanthis  sighs ; 
When  the  fair  consort  of  her  son  replies  : 
Since  you  a  servant's  ravish'd  form  bemoan, 
And  kindly  sigh  for  sorrows  not  your  own, 
Let  me  (if  tears  and  grief  permit)  relate  410 

A  nearer  woe,  a  sister's  stranger  fate. 

No  nymph  of  all  GSchalia  could  compare 
For  beauteous  form  with  Dryope  the  fair; 
Her  tender  mother's  only  hope  and  pride 
(Myself  the  offspring  of  a  second  bride),  415 

This  nymph,  compress'd  by  him  who  rules  the  day, 
Whom  Delphi,  and  the  Delian  isle  obey, 
Andrsemon  lov'd;  and,  blest  in  all  those  charms 
That  pleas'd  a  god,  succeeded  to  her  arms. 

A  lake  there  was,  with  shelving  banks  around,  420 
Whose  verdant  summit  fragrant  myrtles  crown'd. 
Those  shades,  unknowing  of  the  fates,  she  sought, 
And  to  the  Naiads  fiow'ry  garlands  brought; 
Her  smiling  babe  (a  pleasing  charge)  she  press'd 
Between  her  arms,  and  nourish'd  at  her  breast.      425 
Not  distant  far  a  wat'ry  lotos  grows; 
The  spring  was  new,  and  all  the  verdant  boughs, 
Adorn'd  with  blossoms,  promis'd  fruits  that  vie 
In  glowing  colours  with  the  Tyrian  die. 
Of  these  she  cropt,  to  please  her  infant  son,  430 

And  1  myself  the  same  rash  act  had  done, 
But,  lo !  I  saw  (as  near  her  side  I  stood) 
The  violated  blossoms  drop  with  blood; 
Upon  the  tree  I  cast  a  frightful  look, 
The  trembling  tree  with  sudden  horror  shook.         435 
Lotis,  the  nymph  (if  rural  tales  be  true), 
As  from  Priapus'  lawless  lust  she  flew, 
Forsook  her  form ;  and,  fixing  here,  became 
A  fiow'ry  plant,  which  still  preserves  her  name. 

This  change  unknown,  astonish'd  at  the  sight,    440 
My  trembling  sister  strove  to  urge  her  flight ; 
Yet  first  the  pardon  of  the  nymphs  implor'd, 
And  those  offended  silvan  pow'rs  ador'd : 
But  when  she  backward  would  have  fled,  she  found 


Her  stiffening  feet  were  rooted  to  the  ground  :         445 

In  vain  to  free  her  fasten'd  feet  she  strove, 

And  as  she  struggles,  only  moves  above ; 

She  feels  th'  encroaching  bark  around  her  grow, 

By  slow  degrees,  and  cover  all  below : 

Surpris'd  at  this,  her  trembling  hand  she  heaves    450 

To  rend  her  hair  ;  her  hand  is  fill'd  with  leaves ; 

Where  late  was  hair,  the  shooting  leaves  are  seen 

To  Tise,  and  shade  her  with  a  sudden  green. 

The  child  Amphisus,  to  her  bosom  prest, 

Perceiv'd  a  colder  and  a  harder  breast,  455 

And  found  the  springs,  that  ne'er  till  then  deny'd 

Their  milky  moisture,  on  a  sudden  dried. 

I  saw,  unhappy,  what  I  now  relate, 

And  stood  the  helpless  witness  of  thy  fate ; 

Embrac'd  thy  boughs,  the  rising  bark  delay'd,        460 

There  wish'd  to  grow,  and  mingle  shade  with  shade. 

Behold  Andrasmon,  and  th'  unhappy  sire 
Appear,  and  for  their  Dryope  inquire  ; 
A  springing  tree  for  Dryope  they  find, 
And  print  warm  kisses  on  the  panting  rind;  465 

Prostrate,  with  tears  their  kindred  plant  bedew, 
And  close  embrac'd,  as  to  the  roots  they  grew. 
The  face  was  all  that  now  remain'd  of  thee; 
Mo  more  a  woman,  not  yet  quite  a  tree: 
Thy  branches  hung  with  humid  pearls  appear,        470 
From  ev'ry  leaf  distils  a  trickling  tear ; 
And  straight  a  voice,  while  yet  a  voice  remains, 
Thus  thro'  the  trembling  boughs  in  sighs  complains : 

If  to  the  wretched  any  faith  be  giv'n, 
I  swear  by  all  th'  unpitying  pow'rs  of  heav'n,        475 
No  wilful  crime  this  heavy  vengeance  bred, 
In  mutual  innocence  our  lives  we  led. 
If  this  be  false,  let  these  new  greens  decay, 
Let  sounding  axes  lop  my  limbs  away, 
And  crackling  flames  on  all  my  honours  prey.        480 
Now  from  my  branching  arms  this  infant  bear, 
Let  some  kind  nurse  supply  a  mother's  care; 
Yet  to  his  mother  let  him  oft  be  led, 
Sport  in  her  shades,  and  in  her  shades  be  fed; 
Teach  him,  when  first  his  infant  voice  shall  frame  485 
Imperfect  words,  and  lisp  his  mother's  name, 

BOOK  IX.  233 

To  hail  this  tree,  and"  say,  with  weeping  eyes, 

Within  this  plant  my  hapless  parent  lies ; 

And  when  in  youth  he  seeks  the  shady  woods, 

Oh,  let  him  fly  the  crystal  lakes  and  floods,  490 

Nor  touch  the  fatal  flow'rs  ;  but,  warn'd  by  me, 

Believe  a  goddess  shrin'd  in  ev'ry  tree. 

My  sire,  my  sister,  and  my  spouse  farewell! 

If  in  your  breasts  or  love,  or  pity  dwell, 

Protect  your  plant,  nor  let  my  branches  feel  495 

The  browsing  cattle,  or  the  piercing  steel. 

Farewell !  and,  since  I  cannot  bend  to  join 

My  lips  to  yours,  advance  at  least  to  mine. 

My  son,  thy  mother's  parting  kiss  receive, 

While  yet  thy  mother  has  a  kiss  to  give.  500 

I  can  no  more ;  the  creeping  rind  invades 

My  closing  lips,  and  hides  my  head  in  shades : 

Remove  your  hands ;  the  bark  shall  soon  suffice, 

Without  their  aid,  to  seal  these  dying  eyes. 

She  ceas'd  at  once  to  speak,  and  ceas'd  to  be:         505 

And  all  the  nymph  was  lost  within  the  tree : 

Yet  latent  life  through  her  new  branches  reign'd, 

And  long  the  plant  a  human  heat  retain'd. 

While  Idle  the  fatal  change  declares, 
Alcmena's  pitying  hand  oft  wip'd  her  tears.  510 

Grief,  too,  stream'd  down  her  cheeks;  soon  sorrow  flies, 
And  rising  joy  the  trickling  moisture  dries, 
Lo,  Iolaiis  stands  before  their  eyes. 
A  youth  he  stood;  and  the  soft  down  began 
O'er  his  smooth  chin  to  spread,  and  promise  man. 
Hebe  submitted  to  her  husband's  pray'rs,  516 

Instill'd  new  vigour,  and  restor'd  his  years. 

Now  from  her  lips  a  solemn  oath  had  past, 
That  Iolaiis  this  gift  alone  should  taste, 
Had  not  just  Themis  thus  maturely  said  520 

(Which   check'd  her   vow,  and  aw'd  the   blooming 
Thebes  is  embroil'd  in  war.     Capaneus  stands  [maid)  : 
Invincible,  but  by  the  Thund'rer's  hands. 
Ambition  shall  the  guilty*  brothers  fire, 
Both  rush  to  mutual  wounds,  and  both  expire  ;       525 
*  Eteocles  and  Polinices. 


The  reeling  earth  shall  ope  her  gloomy  womb, 
Where  the  yet  breathing*  bard  shall  find  his  tomb. 
The  sonf  shall  bathe  his  hands  in  parent's  blood, 
And  in  one  act  be  both  unjust  and  good. 
Of  home,  and  sense  depriv'd,  where'er  he  flies,       530 
The  furies,  and  his  mother's  ghost  he  spies. 
His  wife  the  fatal  bracelet  shall  implore, 
And  Phegeus  stain  his  sword  in  kindred  gore. 
Callirhoe  shall  then,  with  suppliant  pray'r, 
Prevail  on  Jupiter's  relenting  ear.  535 

Jove  shall  with  youth  her  infant  sons  inspire, 
And  bid  their  bosoms  glow  with  manly  fire. 

When  Themis  thus,  with  prescient  voice,  had  spoke, 
Among  the  gods  a  various  murmur  broke  ; 
Dissention  rose  in  each  immortal  breast,  540 

That  one  should  grant,  what  was  denied  the  rest. 
Aurora  from  her  aged  spouse  complains, 
And  Ceres  grieves  for  Jason's  freezing  veins ; 
Vulcan  would  Erichthonius'  years  renew, 
Her  future  race  the  care  of  Venus  drew,  545 

She  would  Anchises'  blooming  age  restore ; 
A  different  care  employ'd  each  heav'nly  pow'r : 
Thus  various  int'rests  did  their  jars  increase, 
Till  Jove  arose ;  he  spoke,  their  tumults  cease. 

Is  any  rev'rence  to  our  presence  giv'n,  550 

Then  why  this  discord  'mong  the  pow'rs  of  heav'n? 
Who  can  the  settled  will  of  fate  subdue? 
'Twas  by  the  fates  that  Iolaus  knew 
A  second  youth.    The  fates'  determin'd  doom 
Shall  give  Callirhbe's  race  a  youthful  bloom.  555 

Arms,  nor  ambition  can  this  pow'r  obtain; 
Quell  your  desires ;  e'en  me  the  fates  restrain. 
Could  I  their  will  control,  no  rolling  years 
Had  .#iacus  bent  down  with  silver  hairs ; 
Then  Rhadamanthus  still  had  youth  possest,  560 

And  Minos  with  eternal  bloom  been  blest. 

Jove's  words  the  synod  mov'd ;  the  pow'rs  give  o'er, 
And  urge  in  vain  unjust  complaint  no  more. 
Since  Rhadamanthus'  veins  now  slowly  flow'd, 
And  /Eacus,  and  Minos  bore  the  load ;  565 

*  Amplriaraus  t  AlcmEeon. 

BOOK  IX.  235 

Minos,  who  in  the  flow'r  of  youth,  and  fame, 

Made  mighty  nations  tremble  at  his  name, 

Infirm  with  age,  the  proud  Miletus  fears 

Vain  of  his  birth,  and  in  the  strength  of  years ; 

And  now  regarding  all  his  realms  as  lost,  570 

He  durst  not  force  him  from  his  native  coast. 

But  you  by  choice,  Miletus,  fled  his  reign, 

And  thy  swift  vessel  plow'd  th'  iEgean  main  ; 

On  Asiatic  shores  a  town  you  frame, 

Which  still  is  honour'd  with  the  founder's  name.    575 

Here  you,  Cyane,  knew  the  beauteous  maid, 

As  on  her  *  father's  winding  banks  she  stray'd  : 

Caunus  and  Byblis  hence  their  lineage  trace, 

The  double  offspring  of  your  warm  embrace. 

Let  the  sad  fate  of  wretched  Byblis  prove  580 

A  dismal  warning  to  unlawful  love : 
One  birth  gave  being  to  the  hapless  pair, 
But  more  was  Caunus  than  a  sister's  care; 
Unknown  she  lov'd,  for  yet  the  gentle  fire 
Rose  not  in  flames,  nor  kindled  to  desire ;  585 

'Twas  thought  no  sin  to  wonder  at  his  charms, 
Hang  on  his  neck,  and  languish  in  his  arms: 
Thus,  wing'd  with  joy,  fled  the  soft  hours  away, 
And  all  the  fatal  guilt  on  harmless  nature  lay. 

But  love  (too  soon  from  piety  declin'd)  590 

Insensibly  deprav'd  her  yielding  mind. 
Dress'd  she  appears,  with  nicest  art  adorn'd, 
And  ev'ry  youth,  but  her  lov'd  brother,  scorn'd ; 
For  him  alone  she  labour'd  to  be  fair, 
And  curs'd  all  charms  that  might  with  her's  compare. 
'Twas  she,  and  only  she,  must  Caunus  please,        596 
Sick  at  her  heart,  yet  knew  not  her  disease: 
She  call'd  him  lord, — for  brother  was  a  name 
Too  cold,  and  dull  for  her  aspiring  flame  ; 
And  when  he  spoke,  if  sister  he  replied,  600 

For  Byblis  change  that  frozen  word  (she  cry'd). 
Yet  waking,  still  he  watch'd  her  struggling  breast, 
And  love's  approaches  were  in  vain  addrest, 
Till  gentle  sleep  an  easy  conquest  made, 
And  in  her  soft  embrace  the  conqu'ror  was  laid.      605 
*  Meeander. 


But,  oh!  too  soon  the  pleasing  vision  fled, 

And  left  her  blushing  on  the  conscious  bed; 

Ah  me !  (she  cry'd,)  how  monstrous  do  I  seem ! 

Why  these  wild  thoughts,  and  this  incestuous  dream  ? 

Envy  herself  ('tis  true)  must  own  his  charms,         (510 

But  what  is  beauty  in  a  sister's  arms? 

Oh !  were  I  not  that  despicable  she, 

How  bless'd,  how  pleas'd,  how  happy  should  I  be  ! 

But  unregarded  now  must  bear  my  pain, 

And,  but  in  dreams,  my  wishes  can  obtain.  615 

O  sea-born  goddess !  with  thy  wanton  boy ! 
Was  ever  such  a  charming  scene  of  joy? 
Such  perfect  bliss!  such  ravishing  delight! 
Ne'er  hid  before  in  the  kind  shades  of  night. 
How  pleas'd  my  heart !  in  what  sweet  raptures  tost ! 
E'en  life  itself  in  the  soft  combat  lost,  621 

While  breathless  he  on  my  heav'd  bosom  lay, 
And  snatch'd  the  treasures  of  my  soul  away. 

If  the  bare  fancy  so  affects  my  mind, 
How  should  I  rave  if  to  the  substance  join'd?         625 
O  gentle  Caunus !  quit  thy  hated  line, 
Or  let  thy  parents  be  no  longer  mine ! 
Oh,  that  in  common  all  things  were  enjoy'd, 
But  those  alone  who  have  our  hopes  destroy'd. 
Were  I  a  princess,  thou  an  humble  swain,  630 

The  proudest  kings  should  rival  thee  in  vain. 
It  cannot  be,  alas!  the  dreadful  ill 
Is  fix'd  by  fate,  and  he's  my  brother  still. 
Hear  me,  ye  gods!  I  must  have  friends  in  heav'n, 
For  Jove  himself  was  to  a  sister  giv'n :  635 

But  what  are  their  prerogatives  above, 
To  the  short  liberties  of  human  love  ? 
Fantastic  thoughts  !  down,  down,  forbidden  fires, 
Or  instant  death  extinguish  my  desires ! 
Strict  virtue,  then,  with  thy  malicious  leave,  640 

Without  a  crime  I  may  a  kiss  receive : 
But  say,  should  I,  in  spite  of  laws,  comply, 
Yet  cruel  Caunus  might  himself  deny, 
No  pity  take  of  an  afflicted  maid  644 

(For  love's  sweet  game  must  be  by  couples  play'd)  ? 
Yet  why  should  youth,  and  charms  like  mine  despair? 
Such  fears  ne'er  startled  th'  ^Eblian  pair ; 

BOOK  IX.  237 

No  ties  of  blood  could  their  full  hopes  destroy, 

They  broke  through  all  for  the  prevailing  joy ; 

And  who  can  tell  but  Caunus  too  may  be  650 

Rack'd  and  tormented  in  his  breast  for  me? 

Like  me  to  the  extremest  anguish  drove, 

Like  me  just  waking  from  a  dream  of  love? 

But  stay !  oh,  whither  would  my  fury  run  ! 

What  arguments  I  urge  to  be  undone  !  655 

Away,  fond  Byblis,  quench  these  guilty  flames; 

Caunus  thy  love  but  as  a  brother  claims ; 

Yet  had  he  first  been  touch'd  with  lore  of  me, 

The  charming  youth  could  I  despairing  see? 

Oppress'd  with  grief,  and  dying  by  disdain?  660 

Ah  no !  too  sure  I  should  have  eas'd  his  pain ! 

Since  then,  if  Caunus  ask'd  me,  it  were  done ; 

Asking  myself,  what  dangers  can  I  run  ? 

But  canst  thou  ask?  and  see  that  right  betray'd, 

From  Pyrrha  down  to  thy  Avhole  sex.  convey'd?     665 

That  self-denying  gift  we  all  enjoy, 

Of  wishing  to  be  won,  yet  seeming  to  be  coy. 

Well  then,  for  once,  let  a  fond  mistress  woo, 

The  force  of  love  no  custom  can  subdue ; 

This  frantic  passion  he  by  words  shall  know,  670 

Soft  as  the  melting  heart  from  whence  they  flow. 

The  pencil  then  in  her  fair  hand  she  held, 

By  fear  discourag'd ,  but  by  love  compell'd; 

She  writes,  then  blots,  writes  on,  and  blots  again, 

Likes  it  as  fit,  then  razes  it  as  vain :  675 

Shame,  and  assurance,  in  her  face  appear, 

And  a  faint  hope  just  yielding  to  despair; 

Sister  was  wrote,  and  blotted  as  a  word 

Which  she,  and  Caunus  too  (she  hop'd),  abhorr'd; 

But  now  resolv'd  to  be  no  more  controll'd  680 

By  scrup'lous  virtue,  thus  her  grief  she  told : 

Thy  lover  (gentle  Caunus)  wishes  thee 
That  health,  which  thou  alone  canst  give  to  me. 
O  charming  youth,  the  gift  I  ask,  bestow, 
Ere  thou  the  name  of  the  fond  writer  know;  685 

To  thee  without  a  name  I  would  be  known, 
Since  knowing  that,  my  frailty  I  must  own. 
Yet  why  should  I  my  wretched  name  conceal, 
When  thousand  instances  my  flames  reveal?  689 

Wan  looks,  and  weeping  eyes  have  spoke  my  pain ; 


And  sighs  discharg'd  from  my  heav'd  heart  in  vain  ; 

Had  I  not  wish'd  my  passion  might  be  seen, 

What  could  such  fondness  and  embraces  mean  ? 

Such  kisses  too  !  (O  heedless,  lovely  boy,) 

Without  a  crime  no  sister  could  enjoy :  695 

Yet  (though  extremest  rage  has  rack'd  my  soul, 

And  raging  fires  in  my  parch'd  bosom  roll) 

Be  witness,  gods !  how  piously  I  strove, 

To  rid  my  thoughts  of  this  enchanting  love. 

But  who  could  'scape  so  fierce,  and  sure  a  dart,      700 

Aim'd  at  a  tender  and  defenceless  heart? 

Alas !  what  maid  could  suffer,  I  have  borne, 

Ere  the  dire  secret  from  my  breast  was  torn; 

To  thee  a  helpless,  vanquish'd  wretch  I  come, 

'Tis  you  alone  can  save,  or  give  my  doom  ;  705 

My  life,  or  death,  this  moment  you  may  choose, 

Yet  think,  oh  think,  no  hated  stranger  sues, 

No  foe;  but  one,  alas!  too  near  allied, 

And  wishing  still  much  nearer  to  be  tied. 

The  forms  of  decency  let  age  debate,  710 

And  virtue's  rules  by  their  cold  morals  state; 

Their  ebbing  joys  give  leisure  to  inquire, 

And  blame  those  noble  flights  our  youth  inspire : 

Where  nature  kindly  summons  let  us  go, 

Our  sprightly  years   no  bounds  in  love  should 

know,  715 

Should  feel  no  check  of  guilt,  and  fear  no  ill; 
Lovers,  and  gods,  act  all  things  at  their  will : 
We  gain  one  blessing  from  our  hated  kin, 
Since  our  paternal  freedom  hides  the  sin  ; 
Uncensur'd  in  each  other's  arms  we  lie,  720 

Think  then  how  easy  to  complete  our  joy. 
Oh,  pardon,  and  oblige  a  blushing  maid, 
Whose  rage  the  pride  of  her  vain  sex  betray'd; 
Nor  let  my  tomb  thus  mournfully  complain, 
«  Here  Byblis  lies,  by  her  lov'd  Caunus  slain.'  7'25 

Forc'd  here  to  end,  she,  with  a  falling  tear, 
Temper'd  the  pliant  wax,  which  did  the  signet  bear; 
The  curious  cipher  was  impress'd  by  art, 
But  love  had  stamp'd  one  deeper  in  her  heart. 
Her  page,  a  youth  of  confidence  and  skill  730 

(Secret  as  night),  stood  waiting  on  her  will; 
Sighing  (she  cry'd),  Bear  this,  thou  faithful  boy, 

BOOK  IX.  239 

To  my  sweet  partner  in  eternal  joy : 

Here  a  long  pause  her  secret  guilt  confess'd, 

And  when  at  length  she  would  have  spoke  the  rest, 

Half  the  dear  name  lay  buried  in  her  breast.  736 

Thus  as  he  listen'd  to  her  vain  command, 
Down  fell  the  letter  from  her  trembling  hand. 
The  omen  shock'd  her  soul:  yet,  Go,  she  cry'd; 
Can  a  request  from  Byblis  be  denied?  740 

To  the  Maeandrian  youth  this  message  borne, 
The  half- read  lines  by  his  fierce  rage  were  torn; 
Hence,  hence  (he  cry'd),  thou  pander  to  her  lust ; 
Bear  hence  the  triumph  of  thy  impious  trust .' 
Thy  instant  death  will  but  divulge  her  shame,        745 
Or  thy  life's  blood  should  quench  thy  guilty  flame. 

Frighted,  from  threat'ning  Caunus  he  withdrew, 
And  with  the  dreadful  news  to  his  lost  mistress  flew. 
The  sad  repulse  so  struck  the  wounded  fair, 
Her  sense  was  buried  in  her  wild  despair;  750 

Pale  was  her  visage,  as  the  ghastly  dead ; 
And  her  scar'd  soul  from  the  sweet  mansion  fled  ; 
Yet  with  her  life  renew'd,  her  love  returns, 
And  faintly  thus  her  cruel  fate  she  mourns: 

'Tis  just,  ye  gods!  was  my  false  reason  blind,     755 
To  write  a  secret  of  this  tender  kind  1 
With  female  craft  I  should  at  first  have  strove, 
By  dubious  hints  to  sound  his  distant  love; 
And  try'd  those  useful,  though  diss-embled  arts, 
Which  women  practise  on  disdainiul  hearts  760 

J  should  have  watch'd  whence  *he  black  storm  might 
Ere  I  had  trusted  the  unfaithful  skies.  [rise, 

Now  on  the  rolling  billows  I  am  tost, 
And,  with  extended  sails,  on  the  blind  shelves  am  lost . 
Did  not  indulgent  Heav'n  my  doom  foretel,  765 

When  from  my  hand  the  fatal  letter  fell  I 
What  madness  seiz'd  my  soul,  and  urg'd  me  on 
To  take  the  only  course  to  be  undone  ? 
I  could  myself  have  told  the  moving  tale 
With  such  alluring  grace  as  must  prevail;  <70 

Then  had  bis  eyes  beheld  my  blushing  fears, 
My  rising  sighs,  and  my  descending  tears; 
Round  his  dear  neck  these  arms  I  then  had  spread, 


And,  if  rejected,  at  his  feet  been  dead : 

If  singly  these  had  not  his  thoughts  inclin'd,  775 

Yet  all  united  would  have  shockM  his  mind. 

Perhaps  my  careless  page  might  be  in  fault, 

And  in  a  luckless  hour  the  fatal  message  brought; 

Business,  and  worldly  thoughts  might  fill  his  breast, 

Sometimes  e'en  love  itself  may  be  an  irksome  guest : 

He  could  not  else  have  treated  me  with  scorn,        781 

For  Caunus  was  not  of  a  tigress  born  : 

Nor  steel,  nor  adamant  has  fenc'd  his  heart; 

Like  mine,  'tis  naked  to  the  burning  dart. 

Away,  false  fears !  he  must,  he  shall  be  mine,     785 
In  death  alone  I  will  my  claim  resign! 
'Tis  vain  to  wish  my  written  crime  unknown, 
And  for  my  guilt  much  vainer  to  atone. 

Repuls'd  and  baffled,  fiercer  still  she  burns, 
And  Caunus  with  disdain  her  impious  love  returns. 
He  saw  no  end  of  her  injurious  flame,  791 

And  fled  his  country  to  avoid  the  shame. 
Forsaken  Byblis,  who  had  hopes  no  more, 
Burst  out  in  rage,  and  her  loose  robes  she  tore ; 
With  her  fair  hands  she  smote  her  tender  breast,  795 
And  to  the  wond'ring  world  her  love  confess'd; 
O'er  hills  and  dales,  o'er  rocks  and  streams  she  flew, 
But  still  in  vain  did  her  wild  lust  pursue : 
Wearied  at  length,  on  the  cold  earth  she  fell, 
And  now  in  tears  alone  could  her  sad  story  tell.     800 
Relenting  gods  in  pity  fix'd  her  there, 
And  to  a  fountain  turn'd  the  weeping  fair. 

The  fame  of  this,  perhaps,  thro'  Crete  had  flown  : 
But  Crete  had  newer  wonders  of  her  own, 
In  Iphis  chang'd  :  For  near  the  Gnossian  bounds   805 
(As  loud  report  the  miracle  resounds) 
At  Phoestus  dwelt  a  man  of  honest  blood, 
But  meanly  born,  and  not  so  rich  as  good ; 
Esteem'd  and  lov'd  by  all  the  neighbourhood, 
Who  to  his  wife,  before  the  time  assign'd  810 

For  child-birth  came,  thus  bluntly  spoke  his  mind : 
If  Heav'n  (said  Lygdus)  will  vouchsafe  to  hear, 
I  have  but  two  petitions  to  prefer ; 
Short  pains  for  thee,  for  me  a  son  and  heir. 

BOOK  IX.  241 

Girls  cost  as  many  throes  in  bringing  forth;  815 

Besides,  when  born,  the  tits  are  little  worth; 

Weak  puling  things,  unable  to  sustain 

Their  share  of  labour,  and  their  bread  to  gain. 

If,  therefore,  thou  a  creature  shalt  produce, 

Of  so  great  charges,  and  so  little  use  820 

(Bear  witness,  Heav'n,  with  what  reluctancy), 

Her  hapless  innocence  I  doom  to  die. 

He  said,  and  tears  the  common  grief  display, 

Of  him  who  bade,  and  her  who  must  obey. 

Yet  Telethusa  still  persists,  to  find  825 

Fit  arguments  to  move  a  father's  mind; 
T'  extend  his  wishes  to  a  larger  scope, 
And  in  one  vessel  not  confine  his  hope. 
Lygdus  continues  hard :  Her  time  drew  near, 
And  she  her  heavy  load  could  scarcely  bear;  830 

When  slumb'ring,  in  the  latter  shades  of  night, 
Before  th'  approaches  of  returning  light, 
She  saw,  or  thought  she  saw,  before  her  bed, 
A  glorious  train,  and  Isis  at  their  head : 
Her  moony  horns  were  on  her  forehead  plac'd,       835 
And  yellow  shelves  her  shining  temples  grac'd : 
A  mitre  for  a  crown,  she  wore  on  high, 
The  dog  and  dapple  bull  were  waiting  by; 
Osyris,  sought  along  the  banks  of  Nile; 
The  silent  god ;  the  sacred  crocodile  ;  840 

And  last,  a  long  procession  moving  on, 
With  timbrels,  that  assist  the  lab'ring  moon. 
Her  slumbers  seem'd  dispell'd,  and,  broad  awake. 
She  heard  a  voice,  that  thus  distinctly  spake : 
*  My  votary,  thy  babe  from  death  defend,  815 

Nor  fear  to  save  whate'er  the  gods  will  send : 
Delude  with  art  thy  husband's  dire  decree ; 
When  danger  calls,  repose  thy  trust  on  me : 
And  know,  thou  hast  not  serv'd  a  thankless  deity.' 
This  promise  made,  with  night  the  goddess  fled;    850 
With  joy  the  woman  wakes,  and  leaves  her  bed ; 
Devoutly  lifts  her  spotless  hands  on  high, 
And  prays  the  pow'rs  their  gift  to  ratify. 

Now  grinding  pains  proceed  to  bearing  throes, 
Till  its  own  weight  the  burthen  did  disclose :  855 

'Twas  of  the  beauteous  kind,  and  brought  to  light 


With  secrecy,  to  shun  the  father's  sight. 

Th'  indulgent  mother  did  her  care  employ, 

And  pass'd  it  on  her  husband  for  a  boy. 

The  nurse  was  conscious  of  the  fact  alone ;  860 

The  father  paid  his  vows  as  for  a  son ; 

And  call'd  him  Iphis,  by  a  common  name, 

Which  either  sex  with  equal  right  may  claim. 

Iphis  his  grandsire  was;  the  wife  was  pleas'd, 

Of  half  the  fraud  by  fortune's  favour  eas'd,  805 

The  doubtful  name  was  us'd  without  deceit, 

And  truth  was  cover'd  with  a  pious  cheat. 

The  habit  shew'd  a  boy,  the  beauteous  face 

With  manly  fierceness  mingled  female  grace. 

Now  thirteen  years  of  age  were  swiftly  run,  870 

When  the  fond  father  thought  the  time  drew  on 

Of  settling  in  the  world  his  only  son. 

Ianthe  was  his  choice ;  so  wondrous  fair, 

Her  form  alone  with  Iphis  could  compare; 

A  neighbour's  daughter  of  his  own  degree,  875 

And  not  more  bless'd  with  fortune's  goods  than  he. 

They  soon  espous'd;  for  they  with  ease  were  join'd, 
Who  were  before  contracted  in  the  mind. 
Their  age  the  same,  their  inclinations  too ; 
And  bred  together,  in  one  school  they  grew.  880 

Thus  fatally  dispos'd  to  mutual  fires, 
They  felt,  before  they  knew,  the  same  desires. 
Equal  their  flame,  unequal  was  their  care ; 
One  lov'd  with  hope,  one  languish'd  in  despair. 
The  maid  accus'd  the  ling'ring  day  alone :  885 

For  whom  she  thought  a  man,  she  thought  her  own. 
But  Iphis  bends  beneath  a  greater  grief; 
As  fiercely  burns ;  but  hopes  for  no  relief. 
E'en  her  despair  adds  fuel  to  her  fire: 
A  maid  with  madness  does  a  maid  desire.  890 

And,  scarce  refraining  tears,  Alas!  (said  she,) 
What  issue  of  my  love  remains  for  me! 
How  wild  a  passion  works  within  my  breast, 
With  what  prodigious  flames  am  I  possest! 
Could  I  the  care  of  providence  deserve,  895 

Heav'n  must  destroy  me,  if  it  would  preserve. 
And  that's  my  fate,  or  sure  it  would  have  sent 
Some  usual  evil  for  my  punishment: 

BOOK  IX.  245 

Not  this  unkindly  curse ;  to  rage  and  burn, 

Where  nature  shews  no  prospect  of  return.  900 

Nor  cows  for  cows  consume  with  fruitless  fire ; 

Nor  mares,  when  hot,  their  fellow-mares  desire : 

The  father  of  the  fold  supplies  his  ewes ; 

The  stag  through  secret  woods  his  hind  pursues ; 

And  birds  for  mates  the  males  of  their  own  species 

choose.  905 

Her  females  nature  guards  from  female  flame, 
And  joins  two  sexes  to  preserve  the  game : 
Would  I  were  nothing,  or  not  what  I  am ! 
Crete  farn'd  for  monsters,  wanted  of  her  store, 
Till  my  new  love  produc'd  one  monster  more.         910 
The  daughter  of  the  sun  a  bull  desir'd, 
And  yet  e'en  then  a  male  a  female  fired: 
Her  passion  was  extravagantly  new, 
But  mine  is  much  the  madder  of  the  two. 
To  things  impossible  she  was  not  bent,  915 

But  found  the  means  to  compass  her  intent. 
To  cheat  his  eyes  she  took  a  different  shape ; 
Yet  still  she  gain'd  a  lover,  and  a  leap. 
Should  all  the  wit  of  all  the  world  conspire, 
Should  Daedalus  assist  my  wild  desire,  920 

What  art  can  make  me  able  to  enjoy, 
Or  what  can  change  I'anthe  to  a  boy? 
Extinguish  then  thy  passion,  hopeless  maid, 
And  recollect  tby  reason  for  thy  aid. 
Know  what  thou  art,  and  love  as  maidens  ought,     925 
And  drive  these  golden  wishes  from  thy  thought. 
Thou  canst  not  hope  thy  fond  desires  to  gain ; 
Where  hope  is  wanting,  wishes  are  in  vain. 

And  yet  no  guards  against  our  joys  conspire ; 
No  jealous  husband  hinders  our  desire :  930 

My  parents  are  propitious  to  my  wish, 
And  she  herself  consenting  to  the  bliss. 
All  things  concur  to  prosper  our  design : 
AH  things  to  prosper  any  love  but  mine. 
And  yet  I  never  can  enjoy  the  fair;  935 

'Tis  past  the  pow'r  of  Heav'n  to  grant  my  pray'r. 
Heav'n  has  been  kind,  as  far  as  Heav'n  can  be ; 
Our  parents  with  our  own  desires  agree ; 
But  nature,  stronger  than  the  gods  above, 


Refuses  her  assistance  to  my  love ;  940 

She  sets  the  bar  that  causes  all  my  pain; 

One  gift  refus'd  makes  all  their  bounty  vain. 

And  now  the  happy  day  is  just  at  hand, 

To  bind  our  hearts  in  Hymen's  holy  band; 

Our  hearts,  but  not  our  bodies :  thus  accurst,  945 

In  midst  of  water  I  complain  of  thirst. 

Why  com'st  thou,  Juno,  to  these  barren  rites, 

To  bless  a  bed  defrauded  of  delights  1 

But  why  should  Hymen  lift  his  torch  on  high, 

To  see  two  brides  in  cold  embraces  lie  1  950 

Thus  love-sick  Iphis  her  vain  passion  mourns ; 
With  equal  ardour  fair  I'anthe  burns, 
Invoking  Hymen's  name,  and  Juno's  pow'r, 
To  speed  the  work,  and  haste  the  happy  hour. 

She  hopes,  while  Telethusa  fears  the  day,  955 

And  strives  to  interpose  some  new  delay ; 
Now  feigns  a  sickness,  now  is  in  a  fright 
For  this  bad  omen,  or  that  boding  sight. 
But  having  done  whate'er  she  could  devise, 
And  emptied  all  her  magazine  of  lies,  960 

The  time  approach' d:  the  next  ensuing  day 
The  fatal  secret  must  to  light  betray. 
Then  Telethusa  had  recourse  to  pray'r, 
She,  and  her  daughter  with  dishevell'd  hair; 
Trembling  with  fear,  great  Isis  they  ador'd,  965 

Embrac'd  her  altar,  and  her  aid  implor'd : 

Fair  queen,  who  dost  on  fruitful  Egypt  smile, 
Who  sway'st  the  sceptre  of  the  Pharian  isle, 
And  sev'n-fold  falls  of  disemboguing  Nile, 
Relieve,  in  this  our  last  distress  (she  said),  970 

A  suppliant  mother,  and  a  mournful  maid. 
Thou,  goddess,  thou  wert  present  to  my  sight ; 
Reveal'd  I  saw  thee  by  thy  own  fair  light: 
I  saw  thee  in  my  dream,  as  now  I  see, 
With  all  thy  marks  of  awful  majesty :  975 

The  glorious  train  that  compass  thee  around; 
And  heard  the  hollow  timbrels'  holy  sound. 
Thy  words  I  noted,  which  I  still  retain; 
Let  not  thy  sacred  oracles  be  vain. 
That  Iphis  lives,  that  I  myself  am  free  980 

From  shame  and  punishment,  I  owe  to  thee. 

BOOK  IX.  245 

On  thy  protection  all  our  hopes  depend : 
Thy  counsel  sav'd  us,  let  thy  pow'r  defend. 

Her  tears  pursu'd  her  words;  and  while  she  spoke, 
The  goddess  nodded,  and  her  altar  shook :  985 

The  temple  doors,  as  with  a  blast  of  wind, 
Were  heard  to  clap;  the  lunar  horns  that  bind 
The  brows  of  Isis,  cast  a  blaze  around ; 
The  trembling  timbrel  made  a  murm'ring  sound. 

Some  hopes  these  happy  omens  did  impart;        990 
Forth  went  the  mother  with  a  beating  heart : 
Not  much  in  fear,  nor  fully  satisfied ; 
But  Iphis  follow'd,  with  a  larger  stride ; 
The  whiteness  of  her  skin  forsook  her  face ; 
Her  looks  embolden'd  with  an  awful  grace ;  995 

Her  features,  and  her  strength  together  grew, 
And  her  long  hair  to  curling  locks  withdrew. 
Her  sparkling  eyes  with  manly  vigour  shone, 
Big  was  her  voice,  audacious  was  her  tone. 
The  latent  parts,  at  length  reveal'd,  began  1000 

To  shoot  and  spread,  and  burnish  into  man. 
The  maid  becomes  a  youth  : — No  more  delay 
Your  vows,  but  look,  and  confidently  pay. 
Their  gifts  the  parents  to  the  temple  bear; 
The  votive  tables  this  inscription  wear:  1005 

'  Iphis  the  man^has  to  the  goddess  paid 
The  vows,  that  Iphis  offer'd  when  a  maid/ 

Now  when  the  star  of  day  had  shewn  his  face, 
Venus,  and  Juno,  with  their  presence  grace 
The  nuptial  rites,  and  Hymen  from  above  1010 

Descending  to  complete  their  happy  love : 
The  gods  of  marriage  lend  their  mutual  aid ; 
And  the  warm  youth  enjoys  the  lovely  maid. 




The  story  of  Orpheus  and  Eurydice.  The  fable  of  Cyparissus. 
Hyacinthus  transformed  into  a  Flower.  The  transformation  of 
the  Cerastae  and  Propeetides.  'Ilie  story  of  Pygmalion  and 
the  Statue.  The  story  of  Cinyras  and  Myrrha.  The  story  of 
Venus  and  Adonis. 

Thence,  in  his  saffron  robe,  for  distant  Thrace, 
Hymen  departs,  through  air's  unmeasur'd  space : 
By  Orpheus  call'd,  the  nuptial  pow'r  attends, 
But  with  ill-omen'd  augury  descends ; 
Nor  cheerful  look'd  the  god,  nor  prosp'rous  spoke,    5 
Nor  blaz'd  his  torch,  hut  wept  in  hissing  smoke; 
In  vain  they  whirl  it  round,  in  vain  they  shake, 
No  rapid  motion  can  its  flames  awake. 

With  dread  these  inauspicious  signs  were  view'd, 
And  soon  a  more  disastrous  end  ensu'd ;  10 

For  as  the  bride,  amid  the  Naiad  train 
Ran  joyful,  sporting  o'er  the  flow'ry  plain, 
A  venom'd  viper  bit  her  as  she  pass'd  ; 
Instant  she  fell,  and  sudden  breath'd  her  last. 

When  long  his  loss  the  Thracian  had  deplor'd,      15 
Not  by  superior  pow'rs  to  be  restor'd  ; 
Inflam'd  by  love,  and  urg'd  by  deep  despair, 
He  leaves  the  realms  of  light,  and  upper  air ; 
Daring  to  tread  the  dark  Tenarian  road, 
And  tempt  the  shades  in  their  obscure  abode :  20 

Through  gliding  spectres  of  th'  interr'd  to  go, 
And  phantom  people  of  the  world  below : 
Persephone  he  seeks,  and  him  who  reigns 
O'er  ghosts,  and  hell's  uncomfortable  plains. 
Arriv'd,  he,  tuning  to  his  voice  his  strings,  25 

Thus  to  the  king  and  queen  of  shadows  sings : 

•  Ye  pow'rs,  who  under  earth  your  realms  extend, 
To  whom  all  mortals  must  one  day  descend: 
If  here  'tis  granted  sacred  truth  to  tell, 
I  come  not  curious  to  explore  your  hell ;  30 

Nor  come  to  boast  (by  vain  ambition  fir'd) 
How  Cerberus  at  my  approach  retir'd: 
My  wife  alone  I  seek ;  for  her  lov'd  sake, 

BOOK  X.  217 

These  terrors  I  support,  this  journey  take. 

She,  luckless  wand'ring,  or  by  fate  misled,  35 

Chanc'd  on  a  lurking  viper's  crest  to  tread  ; 

The  vengeful  beast,  infiam'd  with,  fury,  starts, 

And  through  her  heel  his  deathful  venom  darts. 

Thus  was  she  snatch'd  untimely  to  her  tomb  ; 

Her  growing  years  cut  short,  and  springing  bloom. 

Long  I  my  loss  endeavour'd  to  sustain,  41 

And  strongly  strove,  but  strove,  alas  !  in  vain : 

At  length  I  yielded,  won  by  mighty  love  ; 

Well  known  is  that  omnipotence  above! 

But  here,  I  doubt,  his  unfelt  influence  fails;  45 

And  yet  a  hope  within  my  heart  prevails, 

That  here,  e'en  here,  he  has  been  known  of  old; 

At  least,  if  truth  be  by  tradition  told ; 

If  fame  of  former  rapes  belief  may  find, 

You  both  by  love,  and  love  alone,  were  join'd.  50 

Now,  by  the  horrors  which  these  realms  surround, 

By  the  vast  chaos  of  these  depths  profound ; 

By  the  sad  silence  which  eternal  reigns 

O'er  all  the  waste  of  these  wide-stretching  plains  ; 

Let  me  again  Eurydice  receive,  55 

Let  fate  her  quick-spun  thread  of  life  re-weave. 

All  our  possessions  are  but  loans  from  you, 

And  soon,  or  late,  you  must  be  paid  your  due ; 

Hither  we  haste  to  human-kind's  last  seat, 

Your  endless  empire,  and  our  sure  retreat.  60 

She  too,  when  ripen'd  years  she  shall  attain, 

Must,  of  avoidless  right,  be  yours  again ; 

I  but  the  transient  use  of  that  require, 

Which  soon,  too  soon,  I  must  resign  entire. 

But  if  the  destinies  refuse  my  vow,  65 

And  no  remission  of  her  doom  allow  ; 

Know,  I'm  determin'd  to  return  no  more ; 

So  both  retain,  or  both  to  life  restore.' 

Thus  while  the  bard  melodiously  complains, 
And  to  his  lyre  accords  his  vocal  strains,  70 

The  very  bloodless  shades  attention  keep, 
And  silent,  seem  compassionate  to  weep ; 
E'en  Tantalus  his  flood  unthirsty  views, 
Nor  flies  the  stream,  nor  he  the  stream  pursues ; 
Ixion's  wond'ring  wheel  its  whirl  suspends,  75 

And  the  voracious  vulture,  charm'd,  attends  : 


No  more  the  Belides  their  toil  bemoan, 

And  Sisyphus  reclin'd,  sits  list'ning  on  his  stone.' 

Then  first  ('tis  said)  by  sacred  verse  subdu'd, 
The  Furies  felt  their  cheeks  with  tears  bedew'd :      80 
Nor  could  the  rigid  king,  or  queen  of  hell, 
Th'  impulse  of  pity  in  their  hearts  repel. 

Now,  from  a  troop  of  shades  that  last  arriv'd, 
Eurydice  was  call'd,  and  stood  reviv'd. 
Slow  she  advanc'd,  and,  halting,  seem'd  to  feel        85 
The  fatal  wound,  yet  painful,  in  her  heel. 
Thus  he  obtains  the  suit  so  much  desir'd, 
On  strict  observance  of  the  terms  requir'd  : 
For  if,  before  he  reach  the  realms  of  air, 
He  backward  cast  his  eyes  to  view  the  fair,  90 

The  forfeit  grant,  that  instant,  void  is  made, 
And  she  for  ever  left  a  lifeless  shade.  [bend, 

Now  through  the  noiseless  throng  their  way  they 
And  both  with  pain  the  rugged  road  ascend ; 
Dark  was  the  path,  and  difficult,  and  steep,  95 

And  thick  with  vapours  from  the  smoky  deep. 
They  well-nigh  now  had  pass'd  the  bounds  of  night, 
And  just  approach'd  the  margin  of  the  light, 
When  he,  mistrusting,  lest  her  steps  might  stray, 
And  gladsome  of  the  glimpse  of  dawning  day,         100 
His  longing  eyes,  impatient,  backward  cast 
To  catch  a  lover's  look, — but  look'd  his  last ; 
For,  instant  dying,  she  again  descends, 
While  he  to  empty  air  his  arms  extends. 
Again  she  died,  nor  yet  her  lord  reprov'd :  105 

What  could  she  say,  but  that  too  well  he  lov'd  ? 
One  last  farewell  she  spoke,  which  scarce  he  heard ; 
So  soon  she  dropp'd,  so  sudden  disappear'd. 

All  stunn'd  he  stood,  when  thus  his  wife  he  view'd, 
By  second  fate,  and  double  death  subdu'd  :  110 

Not  more  amazement  by  that  wretch  was  shewn, 
Whom  Cerberus  beholding,  turn'd  to  stone ; 
Nor  Olenus  could  more  astonish'd  look, 
When  on  himself  Lethsea's  fault  he  took, 
His  beauteous  wife,  who,  too  secure,  had  dar'd       115 
Her  face  to  vie  with  goddesses  compar'd: 
Once  join'd  by  love,  they  stand  united  still, 
Turn'd  to  contiguous  rocks  on  Ida's  hill. 
Now  to  re-pass  the  Styx  in  vain  he  tries, 

BOOK  X.  24S 

Charon  averse,  his  pressing  suit  denies.  120 

Scv'n  days  entire,  along  th'  infernal  shores, 

Disconsolate,  the  hard  Eurydice  deplores  ; 

Defil'd  with  filth  his  robe,  with  tears  his  cheeks, 

No  sustenance  but  grief,  and  cares  he  seeks  : 

Of  rigid  fate  incessant  he  complains,  125 

And  hell's  inexorable  gods  arraigns. 

This  ended,  to  high  Rhodope  he  hastes, 

And  Haemus'  mountain,  bleak  with  northern  blasts. 

And  now  his  yearly  race  the  circling  sun 
Had  thrice  complete  through  wat'ry  Pisces  run,     130 
Since  Orpheus  fled  the  face  of  womankind, 
And  all  soft,  union  with  the  sex  declin'd. 
Whether  his  ill  success  this  change  had  bred, 
Or  binding  vows  made  to  his  former  bed  ; 
Whate'er  the  cause,  in  vain  the  nymphs  contest,     135 
With  rival  eyes  to  warm  his  frozen  breast : 
For  ev'ry  nymph  with  love  his  lays  inspir'd, 
But  ev'ry  nymph  repuls'd,  with  grief  retir'd. 

A  hill  there  was,  and  on  that  hill  a  mead, 
With  verdure  thick,  but  destitute  of  shade.  140 

Where,  now,  the  Muses'  son  no  sooner  sings, 
No  sooner  strikes  his  sweet-resounding  strings, 
But  distant  groves  the  flying  sounds  receive, 
And  list'ning  trees  their  rooted  stations  leave ; 
Themselves  transplanting,  all  around  they  grow,     145 
And  various  shades  their  various  kinds  bestow. 
Here,  tall  Chaonian  oaks  their  branches  spread, 
While  weeping  poplars  there  erect  their  head. 
The  foodful  esculus  here  shoots  his  leaves  ; 
That  turf,  soft  lime  tree,  this,  fat  beech  receives;    196 
Here,  brittle  hazels,  laurels  here  advance, 
And  there  tough  ash  to  form  the  hero's  lance  ; 
Here  silver  firs  with  knotless  trunks  ascend, 
There,  scarlet  oaks  beneath  their  acorns  bend. 
That  spot  admits  the  hospitable  plain,  15* 

On  this,  the  maple  grows  with  clouded  grain  : 
Here  wat'ry  willows  are  with  lotus  seen, 
There,  tamarisk,  and  box  for  ever  green  : 
With  double  hue  here  myrtles  grace  the  ground, 
And  laurustines,  with  purple  berries  crown'd :        ICO 
With  pliant  feet,  now,  ivies  this  way  wind, 


Vines  yonder  rise,  and  elms  with  vines  entwin'd : 

Wild  ornus  now,  the  pitch-tree  next  takes  root, 

And  arbutus  adorn'd  with  blushing  fruit: 

Then  easy-bending  palms,  the  victor's  prize,  165 

And  pines  erect  with  bristly  tops  arise. 

To  Rhea  grateful  still  the  pine  remains, 

For  Atys  still  some  favour  she  retains ; 

He  once  in  human  shape  her  breast  had  warm'd, 

And  now  is  cherish'd  to  a  tree  transform'd.  170 

Amid  the  throng  of  this  promiscuous  wood, 

With  pointed  top,  the  taper  cypress  stood ; 

A  tree,  which  once  a  youth,  and  heav'nly  fair, 

Was  of  that  deity  the  darling  care, 

Whose  hand  adapts,  with  equal  skill,  the  strings    175 

To  bows  with  which  he  kills,  and  harps  to  which  he 
For,  heretofore,  a  mighty  stag  was  bred,       [sings. 

Which  on  the  fertile  fields  of  Caea  fed; 
In  shape  and  size  he  all  his  kind  excelPd, 

And  to  Carthaean  nymphs  was  sacred  held.  180 

His  beamy  head,  with  branches  high  display'd, 

Afforded  to  itself  an  ample  shade ; 

His  horns  were  gilt,  and  his  smooth  neck  was  grac'd 

With  silver  collars  thick  with  gems  enchas'd  : 

A  silver  boss  upon  his  forehead  hung,  185 

And  brazen  pendants  in  his  ear-rings  rung. 

Frequenting  houses,  he  familiar  grew, 

And  learnt  by  custom,  nature  to  subdue  ; 

Till  by  degrees,  of  fear,  and  wildness,  broke,  180 

E'en  stranger  hands  his  proffer'd  neck  might  stroke. 

Much  was  the  beast  by  Caea's  youth  caress'd, 
But  thou,  sweet  Cyparissus,  lov'dst  him  best : 
By  thee,  to  pastures  fresh,  he  oft  was  led, 
By  thee  oft  water'd  at  the  fountain's  head: 
His  horns  with  garlands,  now,  by  thee  were  tied,  195 
And,  now,  thou  on  his  back  would'st  wanton  ride ; 
Now  here  now  there,  would'st  bound  along  the  plains, 
Ruling  his  tender  mouth  with  purple  reins. 

'Twas  when  the  summer  sun  at  noon  of  day, 
Through  glowing  Cancer  shot  his  burning  ray ;       200 
'Twas  then,  the  fav'rite  stag  in  cool  retreat 
Had  sought  a  shelter  from  the  scorching  heat ; 
Along  the  grass  his  weary  limbs  he  laid, 

BOOK  X.  251 

Inhaling  freshness  from  the  breezy  shade : 

When  Cyparissus  with  his  pointed  dart,  205 

Unknowing,  pierc'd  him  to  the  panting  heart. 

But  when  the  youth,  surpris'd,  his  error  found, 

And  saw  him  dying  of  the  cruel  wound, 

Himself  he  would  haye  slain  through  desp'rate  grief : 

What  said  not  Phoebus,  that  might  yield  relief !      210 

To  cease  his  mourning,  he  the  boy  desir'd, 

Or  mourn  no  more  than  such  a  loss  requir'd. 

But  he,  incessant  griev'd :  at  length  address'd 

To  the  superior  pow'rs  a  last  request ; 

Praying,  in  expiation  of  his  crime,  215 

Thenceforth  to  mourn  to  all  succeeding  time. 

And  now  of  blood  exhausted  he  appears, 
Drain'd  by  a  torrent  of  continual  tears ; 
The  fleshy  colour  in  his  body  fades, 
And  a  green  tincture  all  his  limbs  invades  ;  220 

From  his  fair  head,  where  curling  locks  late  hung, 
A  horrid  bush  with  bristled  branches  sprung, 
Which  stiff 'ning  by  degrees,  its  stem  extends, 
Till  to  the  starry  skies  the  spire  ascends. 

Apollo  sad  look'd  on,  and  sighing,  cry'd,  225 

Then,  be  for  ever,  what  thy  pray'r  imply'd ; 
Bemoan'd  by  me,  in  others  grief  excite ; 
And  still  preside  at  ev'ry  fun'ral  rite. 

Thus  the  sweet  artist  in  a  wondrous  shade 
Of  verdant  trees,  which  harmony  had  made,  230 

Encircled  sat,  with  his  own  triumphs  crown'd, 
Of  list'ning  birds,  and  savages  around. 
Again  the  trembling  strings  he  dext'rous  tries, 
Again  from  discord  makes  soft  music  rise ; 
Then  tunes  his  voice :  O  muse,  from  whom  I  sprung, 
Jove  be  my  theme,  and  thou  inspire  my  song.         23G 
To  Jove  my  grateful  voice  I  oft  have  rais'd, 
Oft  his  almighty  pow'r  with  pleasure  prais'd. 
I  sang  the  giants  in  a  solemn  strain, 
Blasted,  and  thunder-struck  on  Phlegra's  plain.     240 
Now  be  my  lyre  in  softer  accents  mov'd, 
To  sing  of  blooming  boys  by  gods  belov'd ; 
And  to  relate  what  virgins,  void  of  shame, 
Have  suffer'd  vengeance  for  a  lawless  flame. 


The  king  of  gods  once  felt  the  burning  joy,  245 

And  sigh'd  for  lovely  Ganymede  of  Troy: 
Long  was  he  puzzled  to  assume  a  shape 
Most  fit,  and  expeditious  for  the  rape  ; 
A  bird's  was  proper,  yet  he  scorns  to  wear 
Any  but  that  which  might  his  thunder  bear.  250 

Down  with  his  masquerading  wings  he  flies, 
And  bears  the  little  Trojan  to  the  skies ; 
Where  now,  in  robes  of  heav'nly  purple  drest, 
He  serves  the  nectar  at  th'  Almighty's  feast, 
To  slighted  Juno  an  unwelcome  guest.  255 

Phoebus  for  thee  too,  Hyacinth,  design'd 
A  place  among  the  gods,  had  fate  been  kind : 
Yet  this  he  gave  ;  as  oft  as  wintry  rains 
Are  past,  and  vernal  breezes  soothe  the  plains, 
From  the  green  turf  a  purple  flow'r  you  rise,  260 

And  with  your  fragrant  breath  perfume  the  skies. 

You  when  alive  were  Phoebus'  darling  boy; 
In  you  he  plac'd  his  heav'n,  and  fix'd  his  joy : 
Their  god  the  Delphic  priests  consult  in  vain ; 
Eurotas  now  he  loves,  and  Sparta's  plain:  265 

His  hands,  the  use  of  bow  and  harp  forget, 
And  hold  the  dogs,  or  bear  the  corded  net ; 
O'er  hanging  cliffs  swift  he  pursues  the  game ; 
Each  hour  his  pleasure,  each  augments  his  flame. 

The  mid-day  sun  now  shone  with  equal  light       270 
Between  the  past,  and  the  succeeding  night; 
They  strip,  then,  smooth'd  with  suppling  oil,  essay 
To  pitch  the  rounded  quoit,  their  wonted  play  : 
A  well-pois'd  disk  first  hasty  Phoebus  threw, 
It  cleft  the  air,  and  whistled  as  it  flew ;  275 

It  reach'd  the  mark,  a  most  surprising  length, 
Which  spoke  an  equal  share  of  art  and  strength. 
Scarce  was  it  fall'n,  when  with  too  eager  hand 
Young  Hyacinth  ran  to  snatch  it  from  the  sand ; 
But  the  curst  orb,  which  met  a  stony  soil,  280 

Flew  in  his  face  with  violent  recoil. 
Both  faint,  both  pale,  and  breathless  now  appear, 
The  boy  with  pain,  the  am'rous  god  with  fear. 
He  ran,  and  rais'd  him  bleeding  from  the  ground, 
Chafes  his  cold  limbs,  and  wipes  the  fatal  wound:  285 

BOOK  X.  253 

Then  herbs  of  noblest  juice  in  vain  applies  ; 
The  wound  is  mortal,  and  his  skill  defies. 

As  in  a  water'd  garden's  blooming  walk, 
When  some  rude  hand  has  bruis'd  its  tender  stalk, 
A  fading  lily  droops  its  languid  head,  290 

And  bends  to  earth,  its  life  and  beauty  fled; 
So  Hyacinth,  with  head  reclin'd,  decays, 
And,  sick'ning,  now  no  more  his  charms  displays. 

Oh,  thou  art  gone,  my  boy  (Apollo  cry'd), 
Defrauded  of  thy  youth  in  all  its  pride !  295 

Thou,  once  my  joy,  art  all  my  sorrow  now ; 
And  to  my  guilty  hand  my  grief  I  owe  : 
Yet  from  myself  I  might  the  fault  remove, 
Unless  to  sport,  and  play,  a  fault  should  prove, 
Unless  it  too  were  call'd  a  fault  to  love.  300 

Oh,  could  I  for  thee,  or  but  with  thee  die  ! 
But  cruel  fates  to  me  that  pow'r  deny  : 
Yet  on  my  tongue  thou  shalt  for  ever  dwell ; 
Thy  name  my  lyre  shall  sound,  my  verse  shall  tell ; 
And  to  a  flow'r  transform'd,  unheard  of  yet,  305 

StampM  on  thy  leaves  my  cries  thou  shalt  repeat. 
The  time  shall  come,  prophetic  I  foreknow, 
When  join'd  to  thee,  a  mighty*  chief  shall  grow, 
And  with  my  plaints  his  name  thy  leaf  shall  shew. 

While  Phoebus  thus  the  laws  of  fate  reveal'd,      310 
Behold,  the  blood  which  stain'd  the  verdant  field, 
Is  blood  no  longer  ;  but  a  flow'r  full  blown. 
Far  brighter  than  the  Tyrian  scarlet  shone. 
A  lily's  form  it  took ;  its  purple  hue 
Was  all  that  made  a  diff'rence  to  the  view.  315 

Nor  stopp'd  he  here;  the  god  upon  its  leaves 
The  sad  expression  of  his  sorrow  weaves; 
And  to  this  hour  the  mournful  purple  wears 
Ai,  Ai,  inscrib'd  in  funeral  characters. 
Nor  are  the  Spartans,  who  so  much  are  fam'd         320 
For  virtue,  of  their  Hyacinth  asham'd; 
But  still  with  pompous  woe,  and  solemn  state, 
The  Hyacinthian  feasts  they  yearly  celebrate. 

Inquire  of  Amathus,  whose  wealthy  ground 
With  veins  of  every  metal  does  abound,  325 

*  Ajax. 


If  she  to  her  Propaetides  would  shew, 

The  honour  Sparta  does  to  him  allow  1 

No  more,  she'd  say,  such  wretches  would  we  grace, 

Than  those  whose  crooked  horns  deform'd  their  face, 

From  thence  Cerastse  call'd;  an  impious  race:        330 

Before  whose  gates  a  rev'rend  altar  stood, 

To  Jove  inscrib'd,  the  hospitable  god : 

This  had  some  stranger  seen  with  gore  besmear'd, 

The  blood  of  lambs  and  bulls  it  had  appear'd : 

Their  slaughter'd  guests  it  was  ;  not  flock  nor  herd. 

Venus  these  barb'rous  sacrifices  view'd  330 

With  just  abhorrence,  and  with  wrath  pursu'd: 
At  first,  to  punish  such  nefarious  crimes, 
Their  towns  she  meant  to  leave,  her  once-lov'd  climes. 
But  why  (said  she),  for  their  offence,  should  I         340 
My  dear  delightful  plains,  and  cities  fly  ? 
No,  let  the  impious  people,  who  have  sinn'd, 
A  punishment  in  death,  or  exile  find : 
If  death,  or  exile,  too  severe  be  thought, 
Let  them  in  some  vile  shape  bemoan  their  fault.     345 

While  next  her  mind  a  proper  form  employs, 
Admonish'd  by  their  horns,  she  fix'd  her  choice. 
Their  former  crest  remains  upon  their  heads, 
And  their  strong  limbs  an  ox's  shape  invades. 

The  blasphemous  Propaetides  deny'd  350 

Worship  of  Venus,  andherpow'r  defy'd: 
But  soon  that  pow'r  they  felt,  the  first  that  sold 
Their  lewd  embraces  to  the  world  for  gold. 
Unknowing  how  to  blush,  and  shameless  grown, 
A  small  transition  changes  them  to  stone.  355 

Pygmalion,  loathing  their  lascivious  life, 
Abhorr'd  all  womankind,  but  most  a  wife : 
So  single  chose  to  live,  and  shunn'd  to  wed, 
Well  pleas'd  to  want  a  consort  of  his  bed. 
Yet  fearing  idleness,  the  nurse  of  ill,  360 

In  sculpture  exercis'd  his  happy  skill; 
And  carv'd  in  iv'ry  such  a  maid,  so  fair, 
As  nature  could  not  with  his  art  compare, 
Were  she  to  work  ;  but  in  her  own  defence, 
Must  take  her  pattern  here,  and  copy  heDce.  365 

Pleas'd  with  his  idol,  he  commends,  admires, 
Adores  ;  and  last,  the  thing  ador'd,  desires. 

BOOK  X.  255 

A  very  virgin  in  her  face  was  seen, 

And  had  she  mov'd,  a  living  maid  had  been :  309 

One  would  have  thought  she  could  have  stirr'd,  but 

With  modesty,  and  was  asham'd  to  move.         [strove 

Art  hid  with  art,  so  well  perform'd  the  cheat, 

It  caught  the  carver  with  his  own  deceit  : 

He  knows,  'tis  madness,  yet  he  must  adore, 

And  still  the  more  he  knows  it,  loves  the  more  :     375 

The  flesh,  or  what  so  seems,  he  touches  oft, 

Which  feels  so  smooth  that  he  believes  it  soft. 

Fir'd  with  this  thought,  at  once  he  strain' d  the  breast, 

And  on  the  lips  a  burning  kiss  impress'd. 

'Tis  true,  the  harden'd  breast  resists  the  gripe,        380 

And  the  cold  lips  return  a  kiss  unripe ; 

But  when,  retiring  back,  he  look'd  again, 

To  think  it  iv'ry,  was  a  thought  too  mean  : 

So  would  believe  sbe  kiss'd,  and  courting  more, 

Again  embrac'd  her  naked  body  o'er;  385 

And  straining  hard  the  statue,  was  afraid, 

His  hands  had  made  a  dint,  and  hurt  his  maid : 

Explor'd  her  limb  by  limb,  and  feard  to  find 

So  rude  a  gripe  had  left  a  livid  mark  behind: 

With  flatt'ry  now  he  seeks  her  mind  to  move,        390 

And  now  with  gifts  (the  pow'rful  bribes  of  love): 

He  furnishes  her  closet  first,  and  fills 

The  crowded  shelves  with  rarities  of  shells ; 

Adds  orient  pearls,  which  from  the  conchs  he  drew, 

And  all  the  sparkling  stones  of  various  hue  :  395 

And  parrots,  imitating  human  tongue, 

And  singing-birds  in  silver  cages  hung; 

And  ev'ry  fragrant  flow'r,  and  od'rous  green 

Were  sorted  well,  with  lumps  of  amber  laid  between  : 

Rich  fashionable  robes  her  person  deck,  400 

Pendants  her  ears,  and  pearls  adorn  her  neck  : 

Her  taper'd  fingers  too  with  rings  are  grac'd, 

And  an  embroider'd  zone  surrounds  her  slender  waist. 

Thus  like  a  queen  array'd,  so  richly  dress'd,  404 

Beauteous  she  shew'd,  but  naked  shewed  the  best : 

Then,  from  the  floor,  he  rais'd  a  royal  bed, 

With  cov'rings  of  Sidonian  purple  spread : 

The  solemn  rites  perform'd,  he  calls  her  bride, 

With  blandishments  invites  her  to  his  side: 


And  as  she  were  with  vital  sense  possest,  410 

Her  head  did  on  a  plumy  pillow  rest. 

The  feast  of  Venus  came,  a  solemn  day, 
To  which  the  Cypriots  due  devotion  pay ; 
With  gilded  horns  the  milk-white  heifers  led, 
Slaughter'd  before  the  sacred  altars,  bled.  415 

Pygmalion  offering  first,  approach'd  the  shrine, 
And  then  with  pray'rs  implor'd  the  pow'rs  divine : 
Almighty  gods,  if  all  we  mortals  want, 
If  all  we  can  require  be  yours  to  grant ; 
Make  this  fair  statue  mine  (he  would  have  said,)    420 
But  chang'd  his  words  for  shame ;  and  only  pray'd, 
Give  me  the  likeness  of  my  iv'ry  maid. 

The  golden  goddess,  present  at  the  pray'r, 
Well  knew  he  meant  th'  inanimated  fair, 
And  gave  the  sign  of  granting  his  desire ;  425 

For  thrice  in  cheerful  flames  ascends  the  fire. 
The  youth,  returning  to  his  mistress,  hies, 
And  impudent  in  hope,  with  ardent  eyes, 
And  beating  breast,  by  the  dear  statue  lies. 
He  kisses  her  white  lips,  renews  the  bliss,  430 

And  looks,  and  thinks  they  redden  at  the  kiss : 
He  thought  them  warm  before :  nor  longer  stays, 
But  next  his  hand  on  her  hard  bosom  lays, 
Hard  as  it  was,  beginning  to  relent, 
It  seem'd  the  breast  beneath  his  fingers  bent ;  435 

He  felt  again,  his  fingers  made  a  print, 
'Twas  flesh,  but  flesh  so  firm,  it  rose  against  the  dint: 
The  pleasing  task  he  fails  not  to  renew ; 
Soft,  and  more  soft  at  ev'ry  touch  it  grew; 
Like  pliant  wax,  when  chafing  hands  reduce,         440 
The  former  mass  to  form,  and  frame  for  use. 
He  would  believe,  but  yet  is  still  in  pain, 
And  tries  his  argument  of  sense  again, 
Presses  the  pulse,  and  feels  the  leaping  vein. 
Convinc'd,  o'erjoy'd,  his  studied  thanks  and  praise, 
To  her  who  made  the  miracle,  he  pays  :  416 

Then  lips  to  lips  he  join'd ;  now  freed  from  fear, 
He  found  the  savour  of  the  kiss  sincere: 
At  this,  the  waken'd  image  op'd  her  eyes, 
And  view'd  at  once  the  light  and  lover  with  surprise. 
The  goddess  present  at  the  match  she  made,       -  451 

BOOK  X.  257 

So  bless'd  the  bed,  such  fruitfulness  convey'd, 
That  ere  ten  months  had  sharpen'd  either  horn, 
To  crown  their  bliss,  a  lovely  boy  was  born ; 
Paphos  his  name,  who,  grown  to  manhood,  wall'd 
The  city,  Paphos,  from  the  founder  call'd.  450 

Nor  him  alone  produc'd  the  fruitful  queen  ; 
But  Cinyras,  who,  like  his  sire,  had  been 
A  happy  prince,  had  he  not  been  a  sire. 
Daughters  and  fathers,  from  my  song  retire ;  460 

I  sing  of  horror  ;  and,  could  I  prevail, 
You  should  not  hear,  or  not  believe  my  tale. 
Yet  if  the  pleasure  of  my  song  be  such, 
That  you  will  hear,  and  credit  me  too  much, 
Attentive  listen  to  the  last  event,  465 

And  with  the  sin  believe  the  punishment : 
Since  nature  could  behold  so  dire  a  crime, 
I  gratulate  at  least  my  native  clime, 
That  such  a  land,  which  such  a  monster  bore, 
So  far  is  distant  from  our  Thracian  shore.  470 

Let  Araby  extol  her  happy  coast, 
Her  cinamon  and  sweet  amomum  boast, 
Her  fragrant  flow'rs,  her  trees  with  precious  tears, 
Her  second  harvests,  and  her  double  years ;      [bears  ? 
How  can  the  land  be  call'd  so  bless'd  that  Myrrha 
Nor  all  her  od'rous  tears  can  cleanse  her  crime,     476 
Her  plant  alone  deforms  the  happy  clime  : 
Cupid  denies  to  have  inflam'd  thy  heart, 
Disowns  thy  love,  and  vindicates  his  dart: 
Some  fury  gave  thee  those  infernal  pains,  480 

And  shot  her  venom'd  vipers  in  thy  veins. 
To  hate  thy  sire  had  merited  a  curse ; 
But  such  an  impious  love  deserv'd  a  worse. 
The  neighb'ring  monarchs,  by  thy  beauty  led, 
Contend  in  crowds,  ambitious  of  thy  bed  :  485 

The  world  is  at  thy  choice  ;  except  but  one, 
Except  but  him,  thou  canst  not  choose,  alone. 
She  knew  it  too,  the  miserable  maid, 
Ere  impious  love  her  better  thoughts  betray'd, 
And  thus  within  her  secret  soul  she  said :  4S0 

Ah,  Myrrha !  whither  would  thy  wishes  tend? 
Ye  gods,  ye  sacred  laws,  my  soul  defend 


From  such  a  crime  as  all  mankind  detest, 

And  never  lodg'd  before  in  human  breast ! 

But  is  it  sin  ?  or  makes  my  mind  alone  405 

Th'  imagin'd  sin?  for  nature  makes  it  none. 

What  tyrant  then  these  envious  laws  began, 

Made  not  for  any  other  beast,  but  man  ! 

The  father-bull  his  daughter  may  bestride, 

The  horse  may  make  his  mother  mare  a  bride  ;       500 

What  piety  forbids  the  lusty  ram, 

Or  more  salacious  goat,  to  rut  their  dam? 

The  hen  is  free  to  wed  the  chick  she  bore, 

And  make  a  husband,  whom  she  hatch'd  before  ; 

All  creatures  else  are  of  a  happier  kind,  505 

Whom  nor  ill-natur'd  laws  from  pleasure  bind, 

Nor  thoughts  of  sin  disturb  their  peace  of  mind. 

But  man,  a  slave  of  his  own  making  lives  : 

The  fool  denies  himself  what  nature  gives  : 

Too  busy  senates,  with  an  over-care  510 

To  make  us  better  than  our  kind  can  bear, 

Have  dash'd  a  spice  of  envy  in  the  laws, 

And,  straining  up  too  high,  have  spoil'd  the  cause. 

Yet  some  wise  nations  break  their  cruel  chains, 

And  own  no  laws,  but  those  which  love  ordains  ;  515 

Where  happy  daughters  with  their  sires  are  join'd, 

And  piety  is  doubly  paid  in  kind. 

O,  that  I  had  been  born  in  such  a  clime, 

Not  here,  where  'tis  the  country  makes  the  crime  ! 

But  whither  would  my  impious  fancy  stray  ?  520 

Hence,  hopes,  and  ye  forbidden  thoughts  away  ! 

His  worth  deserves  to  kindle  my  desires, 

But  with  the  love  that  daughters  bear  to  sires. 

Then  had  not  Cinyras  my  father  been, 

What  hinder'd  Myrrha's  hopes  to  be  his  queen  !      525 

But  the  perverseness  of  my  fate  is  such, 

That  he's  not  mine,  because  he's  mine  too  much : 

Our  kindred  blood  debars  a  better  tie  ; 

He  might  be  nearer,  were  he  not  so  nigh. 

Eyes  and  their  objects  never  must  unite,  530 

Some  distance  is  requir'd  to  help  the  sight : 

Fain  would  I  travel  to  some  foreign  shore, 

Never  to  see  my  native  country  more, 

So  might  I  to  myself  myself  restore ; 

BOOK  X.  259 

So  might  my  mind  these  impious  thoughts  remove, 

And  ceasing  to  behold,  might  cease  to  love.  5M> 

But  stay  I  must,  to  feed  my  famish'd  sight, 

To  talk,  to  kiss,  and  more  if  more  I  might : 

More, impious  maid!  what  more  canst  thou  design, 

To  make  a  monstrous  mixture  in  thy  line,  540 

And  break  all  statutes,  human  and  divine  1 

Canst  thou  be  call'd  (to  save  thy  -wretched  life) 

Thy  mother's  rival  and  thy  father's  wife  ? 

Confound  so  many  sacred  names  in  one, 

Thy  brother's  mother !  sister  to  thy  son  !  545 

And  fear'st  thou  not  to  see  th'  infernal  bands, 

Their  heads  with  snakes,  with  torches  arm'd  their 

Full  at  thy  face  th'  avenging  brands  to  bear,    [hands, 

And  shake  the  serpents  from  their  hissing  hair? 

But  thou  in  time  th'  increasing  ill  control,  550 

Nor  first  debauch  the  body  by  the  soul ; 

Secure  the  sacred  quiet  of  thy  mind, 

And  keep  the  sanctions  nature  has  design'd. 

Suppose  I  should  attempt,  th'  attempt  were  vain, 

No  thoughts  like  mine  his  sinless  soul  profane ;      555 

Observant  of  the  right ;  and  O ,  that  he 

Could  cure  my  madness,  or  be  mad  like  me ! 

Thus  she  :  But  Cinyras,  who  daily  sees 
A  crowd  of  noble  suitors  at  his  knees, 
Among  so  many,  knew  not  whom  to  choose,  560 

Irresolute  to  grant,  or  to  refuse. 
But  having  told  their  names,  inquir'd  of  her 
Who  pleas'd  her  best,  and  whom  she  would  prefer. 
The  blushing  maid  stood  silent  with  surprise, 
And  on  her  father  fix'd  her  ardent  eyes,  565 

And  looking,  sigh'd,  and  as  she  sigh'd,  began 
Bound  tears  to  shed,  that  scalded  as  they  ran. 
The  tender  sire,  who  saw  her  blush  and  cry, 
Ascrib'd  it  all  to  maiden  modesty, 
And  dry'd  the  falling  drops,  and  yet  more  kind,      570 
He  strok'd  her  cheeks,  and  holy  kisses  join'd. 
She  felt  a  secret  venom  fire  her  blood, 
And  found  more  pleasure  than  a  daughter  should ; 
And,  ask'd  again  what  lover  of  the  crew 
She  lik'd  the  best,  she  answer'd,  One  like  you.       575 
Mistaking  what  she  meant,  her  pious  will 


He  prais'd,  and  bade  her  so  continue  still : 

The  word  of  pious  heard,  she  blush'd  with  shame 

Of  secret  guilt,  and  could  not  bear  the  same. 

Twas  now  the  mid  of  night,  when  slumbers  close 
Our  eyes,  and  soothe  our  cares  with  soft  repose  ;   581 
But  no  repose  could  wretched  Myrrha  find, 
Her  body  rolling,  as  she  roll'd  her  mind : 
Mad  with  desire,  she  ruminates  her  sin, 
And  wishes  all  her  wishes  o'er  again :  585 

Now  she  despairs,  and  now  resolves  to  try ; 
Would  not,  and  would  again,  she  knows  not  why ; 
Stops,  and  returns,  makes  and  retracts  the  vow ; 
Fain  would  begin,  but  understands  not  how. 
As  when  a  pine  is  hew'd  upon  the  plains,  590 

And  the  last  mortal  stroke  alone  remains, 
Lab'ring  in  pangs  of  death,  and  threat'ning  all, 
This  way  and  that  she  nods,  consid'ring  where  to  fall : 
So  Myrrha's  mind,  impell'd  on  either  side, 
Takes  ev'ry  bent,  but  cannot  long  abide;  595 

Irresolute  on  which  she  should  rely, 
At  last,  unfix'd  in  all,  is  only  fix'd  to  die. 
On  that  sad  thought  she  rests  ;  resolv'd  on  death, 
She  rises,  and  prepares  to  choke  her  breath  : 
Then  while  about  the  beam  her  zone  she  ties,         600 
Dear  Cinyras,  farewell  (she  softly  cries) ; 
For  thee  I  die,  and  only  wish  to  be 
Not  hated,  when  thou  know'st  I  die  for  thee : 
Pardon  the  crime,  in  pity  to  the  cause : 
This  said,  about  her  neck  the  noose  the  draws.        605 
The  nurse,  who  lay  without,  her  faithful  guard, 
Though  not  the  words,  the  murmurs  over-heard, 
And  sighs  and  hollow  sounds :  Surpris'd  with  fright 
She  starts,  and  leaves  her  bed,  and  springs  a  light ; 
Unlocks  the  door,  and  ent'ring  out  of  breath,  610 

The  dying  saw,  and  instruments  of  death  ; 
She  shrieks,  she  cuts  the  zone  with  trembling  haste, 
And  in  her  arms  her  fainting  charge  embrac'd ; 
Next  (for  she  now  had  leisure  for  her  tears) 
She  weeping  ask'd,  in  these  her  blooming  years,    615 
What  unforeseen  misfortune  caus'd  her  care, 
To  loath  her  life,  and  languish  in  despair  1 

BOOK  X.  261 

The  maid,  with  downcast  eyes,  and  mute  with  grief, 

For  death  unfinish'd,  and  ill-tirn'd  relief, 

Stood  sullen  to  her  suit :  The  beldame  press'd         620 

The  more  to  know,  and  bar'd  her  wither'd  breast, 

Adjur'd  her  by  the  kindly  food  she  drew 

From  those  dry  founts,  her  secret  ill  to  shew. 

Sad  Myrrha  sigh'd,  and  turn'd  her  eyes  aside  : 

The  nurse  still  urg'd,  and  would  not  be  denied :      625 

Nor  only  promis'd  secrecy,  but  pray'd 

She  might  have  leave  to  give  her  offer'd  aid. 

Good-will  (she  said)  my  want  of  strength  supplies, 

And  diligence  shall  give  what  age  denies : 

If  strong  desires  thy  mind  to  fury  move,  630 

With  charms  and  med'cines  I  can  cure  thy  love : 

If  envious  eyes  their  hurtful  rays  have  cast, 

More  pow'rful  verse  shall  free  thee  from  the  blast : 

If  Heav'n,  offended,  sends  thee  this  disease, 

Offended  Heav'n,  with  pray'rs,  we  can  appease.     635 

What  then  remains,  that  can  these  cares  procure  ? 

Thy  house  is  nourishing,  thy  fortune  sure : 

Thy  careful  mother  yet  in  health  survives, 

And,  to  thy  comfort,  thy  kind  father  lives. — 

The  virgin  started  at  her  father's  name,  640 

And  sigh'd  profoundly,  conscious  of  the  shame  : 

Nor  yet  the  nurse  her  impious  love  divin'd, 

But  yet  surmis'd  that  love  disturb'd  her  mind : 

Thus  thinking,  she  pursu'd  her  point,  and  laid, 

And  lulFd  within  her  lap  the  mourning  maid ;        645 

Then  softly  sooth'd  her  thus:  I  guess  your  grief; 

You  love,  my  child  ;  your  love  shall  find  relief. 

My  long-experienc'd  age  shall  be  your  guide ; 

Rely  on  that,  and  lay  distrust  aside : 

No  breath  of  air  shall  on  the  secret  blow,  650 

Nor  shall  (what  most  you  fear)  your  father  know. 

Struck  once  again,  as  with  a  thunder-clap, 

The  guilty  virgin  bounded  from  her  lap. 

And  threw  her  body  prostrate  on  the  bed, 

And,  to  conceal  her  blushes,  hid  her  head ;  655 

There  silent  lay,  and  warn'd  her  with  her  hand 

To  go ;  but  she  receiv'd  not  the  command ; 

Remaining  still,  importunate  to  know  : 

Then  Myrrha  thus  :  Or  ask  no  more,  or  go; 


I  prithee  go, — or,  staying,  spare  my  shame  :  660 

What  thou  would'st  hear,  is  impious  e'en  to  name. 
At  this,  on  high  the  beldame  holds  her  hands, 
And  trembling  both  with  age  and  terror  stands ; 
Adjures,  and,  falling  at  her  feet,  intreats, 
Soothes  her  with  blandishments,  and  frights  with 

threats,  665 

To  tell  the  crime  intended,  or  disclose 
What  part  of  it  she  knew,  if  she  no  farther  knows  ; 
And  last,  if  conscious  to  her  counsel  made, 
Confirms  anew  the  promise  of  her  aid. 
Now  Myrrha  rais'd  her  head  ;  but,  soon  opprest     670 
With  shame,  reclin'd  it  on  her  nurse's  breast ; 
Bath'd  it  with  tears,  and  stroTe  to  have  confess'd  : 
Twice  she  began,  and  stopp'd,  again  she  try'd ; 
The  falt'ring  tongue  its  office  still  deny'd. 
At  last  her  veil  before  her  face  she  spread,  CT5 

And  drew  a  long  preluding  sigh,  and  said, 
'  O  happy  mother,  in  thy  marriage  bed !' 
Then  groan'd  and  ceas'd.  The  good  old  woman  shook  ; 
Stiff  were  her  eyes,  and  ghastly  was  her  look : 
Her  hoary  hair  upright  with  horror  stood,  680 

Made  (to  her  grief)  more  knowing  than  she  would. 
Much  she  reproach'd,  and  many  things  she  said, 
To  cure  the  madness  of  th'  unhappy  maid ; 
In  vain  :  for  Myrrha  stood  convict  of  ill; 
Her  reason  vanquish'd,  but  unchang'd  her  will:     685 
Perverse  of  mind,  unable  to  reply, 
She  stood  resolv'd,  or  to  possess  or  die. 
At  length  the  fondness  of  a  nurse  prevail'd 
Against  her  better  sense,  and  virtue  fail'd  : 
Enjoy,  my  child,  since  such  is  thy  desire,  690 

Thy  love  (she  said) ; — she  durst  not  say,  thy  sire : 
Live,  though  unhappy,  live  on  any  terms; 
Then  with  a  second  oath  her  faith  confirms. 

The  solemn  feast  of  Ceres  now  was  near, 
When  long  white  linen  stoles  the  matrons  wear;    695 
Rank'd  in  procession  walk  the  pious  train, 
Off 'ring  first-fruits,  and  spikes  of  yellow  grain : 
For  nine  long  nights  the  nuptial  bed  they  shun, 
And,  sanctifying  harvest,  lie  alone.  699 

Mix'd  with  the  crowd,  the  queen  forsook  her  lord, 

BOOK  X.  263 

And  Ceres'  power  with  secret  rites  ador'd : 

The  royal  couch,  now  vacant  for  a  time, 

The  crafty  crone,  officious  in  her  crime, 

The  first  occasion  took  :  the  king  she  found 

Easy  with  wine,  and  deep  in  pleasures  drown'd,    705 

Prepar'd  for  love  :  The  beldame  blew  the  flame, 

Confess'd  the  passion,  but  conceal'd  the  name. 

Her  form  she  prais'd;  the  monarch  ask'd  her  years  ; 

And  she  reply'd,  The  same  thy  Myrrha  bears. 

Wine,  and  commended  beauty,  fir'd  his  thought;    710 

Impatient,  he  commands  her  to  be  brought. 

Pleas'd  with  her  charge  perform'd,  she  hies  her  home, 

And  gratulates  the  nymph,  the  task  was  overcome. 

Myrrha  was  joy'd  the  welcome  news  to  hear; 

But  clogg'd  with  guilt,  the  joy  was  unsincere :        715 

So  various,  so  discordant  is  the  mind, 

That  in  our  will  a  diff'rent  will  we  find. 

Ill  she  presag'd,  and  yet  pursued  her  lust ; 

For  guilty  pleasures  give  a  double  gust. 

'Twas  depth  of  night:  Arctophylax  had  driv'n    720 
His  lazy  wain  half  round  the  northern  heav'n, 
When  Myrrha  hasten'd  to  the  crime  desir'd : 
The  moon  beheld  her  first,  and  first  retir'd ; 
The  stars  amaz'd  ran  backward  from  the  sight, 
And,  shrunk  within  their  sockets,  lost  their  light.  725 
Icarius  first  withdraws  his  holy  flame : 
The  virgin  sign,  in  heav'n  the  second  name, 
Slides  down  the  belt,  and  from  her  station  flies, 
And  night  with  sable  clouds  involves  the  skies. 
Bold  Myrrha  still  pursues  her  black  intent;  730 

She  stumbled  thrice  (an  omen  of  th'  event); 
Thrice  shriek'd  the  fun'ral  owl,  yet  on  she  went, 
Secure  of  shame,  because  secure  of  sight; 
E'en  bashful  sins  are  impudent  by  night. 
Link'd  hand  in  hand,  th'  accomplice  acd  the  dame, 
Their  way  exploring  to  the  chamber  came  :  736 

The  door  was  ope;  they  blindly  grope  their  way, 
Where  dark  in  bed  th'  expecting  monarch  lay. 
Thus  far  her  courage  held,  but  here  forsakes; 
Her  faint  knees  knock  at  ev'ry  step  she  makes.      740 
The  nearer  to  her  crime,  the  more  within 
She  feels  remorse,  and  horTor  of  her  sin; 


Repents  too  late  her  criminal  desire, 

And  wishes  that,  unknown,  she  could  retire. 

Her  ling'ring  thus,  the  nurse  (who  fear'd  delay      745 

The  fatal  secret  might  at  length  betray) 

Pull'd  forward,  to  complete  the  work  begun, 

And  said  to  Cinyras,  '  Receive  thy  own/ 

Thus  saying,  she  deliver'd  kind  to  kind, 

Accurs'd,  and  their  devoted  bodies  join'd.  750 

The  sire  unknowing  of  the  crime,  admits 

His  bowels,  and  profanes  the  hallow'd  sheets; 

He  found  she  trembled,  but  believ'd  she  strove 

With  maiden  modesty  against  her  love,  [move. 

And  sought  with  flatt'ring  words  vain  fancies  to  re- 

Perhaps,  he  said,  my  daughter,  cease  thy  fears       756 

(Because  the  title  suited  with  her  years)  ; 

And  father,  she  might  whisper  him  again, 

That  names  might  not  be  wanting  to  the  sin. 

Full  of  her  sire,  she  left  th'  incestuous  bed,  760 

And  carried  in  her  womb  the  crime  she  bred. 
Another,  and  another  night  she  came ; 
For  frequent  sin  had  left  no  sense  of  shame : 
*Till  Cinyras  desir'd  to  see  her  face, 
Whose  body  he  had  held  in  close  embrace,  765 

And  brought  a  taper ;  the  revealer,  light, 
Expos'd  both  crime  and  criminal  to  sight. 
Grief,  rage,  amazement,  could  no  speech  afford, 
But  from  the  sheath  he  drew  th'  avenging  sword : 
The  guilty  fled ;  the  benefit  of  night,  770 

That  favour'd  first  the  sin,  secur'd  the  flight. 
Long  wand'ring  through  the  spacious  fields  she  bent 
Her  voyage  to  th'  Arabian  continent ; 
Then  pass'd  the  region  which  Panchaea  join'd, 
And  flying  left  the  palmy  plains  behind.  775 

Nine  times  the  moon  had  mew'd  her  horns ;  at  length 
With  travel  weary,  unsupplied  with  strength, 
And  with  the  burthen  of  her  womb  oppress'd : 
Sabaean  fields  afford  her  needful  rest : 
There,  loathing  life,  and  yet  of  death  afraid,  780 

In  anguish  of  her  spirit,  thus  she  pray'd: 
Ye  pow'rs,  if  any  so  propitious  are 
T'  accept  my  penitence,  and  hear  my  pray'i ; 

BOOK  X.  2C5 

Your  judgments,  I  confess,  are  justly  sent; 

Great  sins  deserve  as  great  a  punishment :  785 

Yet,  since  my  life  the  living  will  profane, 

And  since  my  death  the  happy  dead  will  stain, 

A  middle  state  your  mercy  may  bestow, 

Betwixt  the  realms  above  and  those  below ; 

Some  other  form  to  wretched  Myrrha  give,  7i>0 

Nor  let  her  wholly  die,  nor  wholly  live. 

The  prayers  of  penitents  are  never  vain ; 
At  least  she  did  her  last  request  obtain : 
For  while  she  spoke,  the  ground  began  to  rise, 
And  gather'd  round  her  feet,  her  legs,  and  thighs ;  795 
Her  toes  in  roots  descend,  and,  spreading  wide, 
A  firm  foundation  for  her  trunk  provide  : 
Her  solid  bones  convert  to  solid  wood, 
To  pith  her  marrow,  and  to  sap  her  blood: 
Her  arms  are  boughs,  her  fingers  change  their  kind, 
Her  tender  skin  is  harden'd  into  rind.  801 

And  now  the  rising  tree  her  womb  invests, 
Now  shooting  upwards  still,  invades  her  breasts, 
And  shades  the  neck  ;  when  weary  with  delay, 
She  sunk  her  head  within,  and  met  it  half  the  way, 
And  tho'  with  outward  shape  she  lost  her  sense,     806 
With  bitter  tears  she  wept  her  last  offence ; 
And  still  she  weeps,  nor  sheds  her  tears  in  vain ; 
For  still  the  precious  drops  her  name  retain. 

Meantime,  the  mis-begotten  infant  grows,  810 

And,  ripe  for  birth,  distends  with  deadly  throes 
The  swelling  rind,  with  unavailing  strife, 
To  leave  the  wooden  womb,  and  pushes  into  life. 
The  mother  tree,  as  if  oppress'd  with  pain,  814 

Writhes  here,  and  there,  to  break  the  bark  in  vain ; 
And  like  a  labouring  woman  would  have  pray'd, 
But  wants  a  voice  to  call  Lucina's  aid : 
The  bending  bole  sends  out  a  hollow  sound) 
And  trickling  tears  fall  thicker  on  the  ground. 
The  mild  Lucina  came  uncall'd,  and  stood  820 

Beside  the  struggling  boughs,  and  heard  the  groaning 

Then  reach'd  her  midwife-hand  to  speed  the  throes, 
And  spoke  the  pow'rful  spells,  that  babes  to  birth  dis 
The  bark  divides,  the  living  load  to  free,  [close - 



And  safe  delivers  the  convulsive  tree.  825 

The  ready  nymphs  receive  the  crying  child, 
And  wash  him  in  the  tears  the  parent  plant  distill'd. 
They  swath'd  him  with  their  scarfs ;  heneath  him 

The  ground  with  herbs ;  with  roses  rais'd  his  head. 
The  lovely  babe  was  born  with  ev'ry  grace,  830 

E'en  envy  must  have  prais'd  so  fair  a  face : 
Such  was  his  form  as  painters,  when  they  shew 
Their  utmost  art,  on  naked  loves  bestow : 
And  that  their  arms  no  diff'rence  might  betray, 
Give  him  a  bow,  or  his  from  Cupid  take  away.        835 
Time  glided  along  with  undiscover'd  haste, 
The  future  but  a  length  behind  the  past; 
So  swift  are  years.     The  babe,  whom  just  before 
His  grandsire  got,  and  whom  his  sister  bore; 
The  drop,  the  thing,  which  late  the  tree  inclos'd,    840 
And  late  the.  yawning  bark  to  life  expos'd; 
A  babe,  a  boy,  a  beauteous  youth  appears, 
And  lovelier  than  himself  at  riper  years. 
Now  to  the  queen  of  love  he  gave  desires, 
And,  with  her  pains,  reveng'd  his  mother's  fires.    845 

For  Cytherea's  lips,  while  Cupid  press'd, 
He,  with  a  heedless  arrow,  raz'd  her  breast. 
The  goddess  felt  it,  and  with  fury  stung, 
The  wanton  mischief  from  her  bosom  flung : 
Yet  thought  at  first  the  danger  slight,  but  found     850 
The  dart  too  faithful,  and  too  deep  the  wound. 
Fir'd  with  a  mortal  beauty,  she  disdains 
To  haunt  th'  Idalian  mount,  or  Phrygian  plains. 
She  seeks  not  Cnidos,  nor  her  Paphian  shrines, 
Nor  Amathus,  that  teems  with  brazen  mines :         855 
E'en  heaven  itself,  with  all  its  sweets  unsought, 
Adonis  far  a  sweeter  heav'n  is  thought. 
On  him  she  hangs,  and  fonds  with  ev'ry  art, 
And  never,  never  knows  from  him  to  part. 
She,  whose  soft  limbs  had  only  been  display'd        800 
On  rosy  beds  beneath  the  myrtle  shade, 
Whose  pleasing  care  was  to  improve  each  grace, 
And  add  more  charms  to  an  unrivall'd  face, 
Now  buskin' d,  like  the  virgin  huntress,  goes 
Thro'  woods,  and  pathless  wilds,  and  mountain  snows 

BOOK  X.  267 

With  her  own  tuneful  voice  she  joys  to  cheer         86G 

The  panting  hounds,  that  chase  the  flying  deer. 

She  runs  the  labyrinth  of  fearful  hares, 

But  fearless  beasts  and  dang'rous  prey  forbears ; 

Hunts  not  the  grinning  wolf,  or  foamy  boar,  870 

And  trembles  at  the  lion's  hungry  roar. 

Thee  too,  Adonis,  with  a  lover's  care, 

She  warns,  if  warn'd  thou  wouldst  avoid  the  snare : — 

To  furious  animals  advance  not  nigh, 

Fly  those  that  follow,  follow  those  that  fly ;  875 

*Tis  chance  alone  must  the  survivors  save, 

Whene'er  brave  spirits  will  attempt  the  brave. 

O  lovely  youth !  in  harmless  sports  delight ; 

Provoke  not  beasts  which  arm'd  by  nature  fight. 

For  me,  if  not  thyself,  vouchsafe  to  fear  :  880 

Let  not  thy  thirst  of  glory  cost  me  dear. 

Boars  know  not  how  to  spare  a  blooming  age; 

No  sparkling  eyes  can  soothe  the  lion's  rage. 

Not  all  thy  charms  a  savage  beast  can  move, 

Which  have  so  deeply  touch'd  the  queen  of  love.   885 

When  bristled  boars  from  heathen  thickets  spring, 

In  grinded  tusks  a  thunderbolt  they  bring. 

The  daring  hunters  lions  rous'd  devour, 

Vast  is  their  fury,  and  as  vast  their  pow'r ; 

Curst  be  their  tawny  race !  If  thou  would'st  hear 

What  kindled  thus  my  hate;  then  lend  an  ear: 

The  wondrous  tale  I  will  to  thee  unfold, 

How  the  fell  monsters  rose  from  crimes  of  old. 

But  by  long  toils  I  "faint:  See!  wide  display'd, 

A  grateful  poplar  courts  us  with  a  shade.  895 

The  grassy  turf  beneath  so  verdant  shews, 

We  may  secure  delightfully  repose. 

With  her  Adonis  here  be  Venus  bless'd ; 

And  swift  at  once  the  grass  and  him  she  press'd. 

Then  sweetly  smiling,  with  a  raptur'd  mind,  900 

On  his  lov'd  bosom  she  her  head  reclin'd, 

And  thus  began :  but,  mindful  still  of  bliss, 

Seal'd  the  soft  accents  with  a,  softer  kiss. 

Perhaps  thou  may'st  have  heard  a  virgin's  name, 
Who  still  in  swiftness  swiftest  youths  o'ercame.     905 
Wondrous !  that  female  weakness  should  outdo 
A  manly  strength;  the  wonder  yet  is  true. 


'Twas  doubtful,  if  her  triumphs  in  the  field 

Did  to  her  form's  triumphant  glories  yield; 

Whether  her  face  could  with  more  ease  decoy         910 

A  crowd  of  lovers,  or  her  feet  destroy. 

For  once  Apollo  she  implor'd  to  shew 

If  courteous  fates  a  consort  would  allow : 

A  consort  brings  thy  ruin  (he  reply'd) ; 

O,  learn  to  want  the  pleasures  of  a  bride!  915 

Nor  shalt  thou  want  them  to  thy  wretched  cost, 

And  Atalanta  living  shall  be  lost. 

With  such  a  rueful  fate  th'  affrighted  maid 

Sought  green  recesses  in  the  woodland  glade. 

Not  sighing  suitors  her  resolves  could  move,  920 

She  bade  them  shew  their  speed,  to  shew  their  love. 

He  only,  who  could  conquer  in  the  race, 

Might  hope  the  conquer'd  virgin  to  embrace ; 

While  he,  whose  tardy  feet  had  lagg'd  behind, 

Was  doom'd  the  sad  reward  of  death  to  find.  925 

Though  great  the  prize,  yet  rigid  the  decree : 

But,  blind  with  beauty,  who  can  rigour  see? 

E'en  on  these  laws  the  fair  they  rashly  sought, 

And  danger  in  excess  of  love  forgot. 

There  sat  Hippomenes,  prepar'd  to  blame  930 

In  lovers  such  extravagance  of  flame. 
And  must  (he  said)  the  blessing  of  a  wife 
Be  dearly  purchas'd  by  a  risk  of  life  ? 
But  when  he  saw  the  wonders  of  her  face, 
And  her  limbs  naked,  springing  to  the  race,  935 

Her  limbs,  as  exquisitely  turn'd  as  mine, 
Or,  if  a  woman  thou,  might  vie  with  thine, 
With  lifted  hands,  he  cry'd,  Forgive  the  tongue 
Which  durst,  ye  youths,  your  well- tim'd  courage  wrong. 
I  knew  not,  that  the  nymph  for  whom  you  strove,  940 
Deserv'd  th'  unbounded  transports  of  your  love. 
He  saw,  admir'd,  and  thus  her  spotless  frame 
He  prais'd,  and  praising,  kindled  his  own  flame. 
A  rival  now  to  all  the  youths  who  run, 
Envious,  he  fears,  they  should  not  be  undone.         945 
But  why  (reflects  he)  idly  thus  is  shewn 
The  fate  of  others,  yet  untried  my  own  ? 
The  coward  must  not  on  love's  aid  depend ; 
The  god  was  ever  to  the  bold  a  friend. 

BOOK  X.  269 

Meantime,  the  virgin  flies,  or  seems  to  fly,  950 

Swift  as  a  Scythian  arrow  cleaves  the  sky: 

Still  more  and  more  the  youth  her  charms  admires, 

The  race  itself  t'  exalt  her  charms  conspires. 

The  golden  pinions,  which  her  feet  adorn, 

In  wanton  flutt'rings  by  the  winds  are  borne.         955 

Down  from  her  head,  the  long  fair  tresses  flow, 

And  sport  with  lovely  negligence  below. 

The  waving  ribands,  which  her  buskins  tie, 

Her  snowy  skin  with  waving  purple  die ; 

As  crimson  veils,  in  palaces  display'd,  960 

To  the  white  marble  lend  a  blushing  shade. 

Nor  long  he  gaz'd ;  yet,  while  he  gaz'd,  she  gain'd 

The  goal,  and  the  victorious  wreath  obtain'd. 

The  vanquished  sigh,  and  as  the  law  decreed, 

Pay  the  dire  forfeit,  and  prepare  to  bleed.  965 

Then  rose  Hippomenes,  not  yet  afraid, 
And  fix'd  his  eyes  full  on  the  beauteous  maid. 
Where  is  (he  cry'd)  the  mighty  conquest  won, 
To  distance  those,  who  want  the  nerves  to  run  1 
Here  prove  superior  strength,  nor  shall  it  be  970 

Thy  loss^of  glory,  if  excell'd  by  me. 
High  my  descent,  near  Neptune  I  aspire, 
For  Neptune  was  grand-parent  to  my  sire. 
From  that  great  god,  the  fourth  myself  I  trace, 
Nor  sink  my  virtues  yet  beneath  my  race.  975 

Thou  from  Hippomenes,  o'ercome,  may'st  claim 
An  envied  triumph,  and  a  deathless  fame. 
While  thus  the  youth  the  virgin's  pow'r  defies, 
Silent  she  views  him  still  with  softer  eyes ; 
Thoughts  in  her  breast  a  doubtful  strife  begin,        980 
If  'tis  not  happier  now  to  lose  than  win. 
What  god,  a  foe  to  beauty,  would  destroy 
The  promised  ripeness  of  this  blooming  boy? 
With  his  life's  danger  does  he  seek  my  bed  1 
Scarce  am  I  half  so  greatly  worth,  she  said.  985 

Nor  has  his  beauty  mov'd  my  breast  to  love, 
And  yet  I  own,  such  beauty  well  might  move  : 
'Tis  not  his  charms,  'tis  pity  would  engage 
My  soul  to  spare  the  greenness  of  his  age. 
What,  that  heroic  courage  fires  his  breast,  990 


And  shines  through  brave  disdain  of  fate  confest? 

What,  that  his  patronage  by  close  degrees, 

Springs  from  th'  imperial  ruler  of  the  seas  ? 

Then  add  the  love  which  bids  him  undertake 

The  race,  and  dare  to  perish  for  my  sake.  995 

Of  bloody  nuptials,  heedless  youth,  beware ! 

Fly,  timely  fly,  from  a  too  barb'rous  fair. 

At  pleasure  choose;  thy  love  will  be  repaid, 

By  a  less  foolish,  and  more  beauteous  maid. 

But  why  this  tenderness,  before  unknown?  1000 

Why  beats  and  pants  my  breast  for  him  alone? 

His  eyes  have  seen  his  num'rous  rivals  yield, 

Let  him,  too,  share  the  rigour  of  the  field, 

Since,  by  their  fates  untaught,  his  own  he  courts, 

And  thus  with  ruin  insolently  sports.  1005 

Yet  for  what  crime  shall  he  his  death  receive  ? 

Is  it  a  crime  with  me  to  wish  to  live  ? 

Shall  this  kind  passion  his  destruction  prove? 

Is  this  the  fatal  recompense  of  love  ? 

So  fair  a  youth,  destroy'd,  would  conquest  shame, 

And  nymphs  eternally  detest  my  fame.  1011 

Still  why  should  nymphs  my  guiltless  fame  upbraid? 

Did  I  the  fond  adventurer  persuade? 

Alas  !  I  wish  thou  would'st  the  course  decline, 

Or  that  my  swiftness  was  excell'd  by  thine.  1015 

See  !  what  a  virgin's  bloom  adorns  the  boy! 

Why  wilt  thou  run,  and  why  thyself  destroy  ? 

Hippomenes!  O  that  I  ne'er  had  been 

By  those  bright  eyes  unfortunately  seen  ! 

Ah!  tempt  not  thus,  a  swift,  untimely  fate;  1020 

Thy  life  is  worthy  of  the  longest  date. 

Were  I  less  wretched,  did  the  galling  chain 

Of  rigid  gods  not  my  free  choice  restrain, 

By  thee  alone  I  could  with  joy  be  led 

To  taste  the  raptures  of  a  nuptial  bed.  1025 

Thus  she  disclos'd  the  woman's  secret  heart, 
Young,  innocent,  and  new  to  Cupid's  dart. 
Her  thoughts,  her  words,  her  actions,  wildly  rove; 
With  love  she  burns,  yet  knows  not  that  'tis  love. 

Her  royal  sire  now  with  the  murm'ring  crowd 
Demands  the  race  impatiently  aloud.  1031 

Hippomenes  then  with  true  fervour  pray'd, 

BOOK  X.  271 

My  bold  attempt  let  Venus  kindly  aid. 

By  her  sweet  pow'r,  I  felt  this  am'rous  fire, 

Still  may  she  succour,  whom  she  did  inspire.        1035 

A  soft,  unenvious  wind,  with  speedy  care, 

Wafted  to  heav'n  the  lover's  tender  pray'r. 

Pity,  I  own,  soon  gain'd  the  wish'd  consent, 

And  all  the  assistance  he  implor'd,  I  lent. 

The  Cyprian  lands,  though  rich  in  richness,  yield 

To  that,  surnam'd  the  Tamasenian  field.  1041 

That  field  of  old  was  added  to  my  shrine, 

And  its  choice  products  consecrated  mine. 

A  tree  there  stands,  full  glorious  to  behold, 

Gold  are  the  leaves,  the  crackling  branches  gold. 

It  chanc'd,  three  apples  in  my  hand  I  bore,  1046 

Which  newly  from  the  tree  I  sportive  tore ; 

Seen  by  the  youth,  alone,  to  him  I  brought 

The  fruit,  and  when,  and  how  to  use  it,  taught. 

The  signal  sounding  by  the  king's  command,     1050 
Both  start  at  once,  and  sweep  th'  unprinted  sand. 
So  swiftly  move  their  feet,  they  might  with  ease, 
Scarce  moisten'd,  skim  along  the  glassy  seas ; 
Or,  with  a  wondrous  levity,  be  borne 
O'er  yellow  harvests  of  unbending  corn.  1055 

Now  fav'ring  peals  resound  from  ev'ry  part, 
Spirit  the  youth,  and  fire  his  fainting  heart. 
Hippomenes !  (they  cry'A)  thy  life  preserve, 
Intensely  labour,  and  stretch  ev'ry  nerve. 
Base  fear  alone  can  baffle  thy  design,  1060 

Shoot  boldly  onward,  and  the  goal  is  thine. 
'Tis  doubtful,  whether  shouts  like  these,  convey'd 
More  pleasures  to  the  youth  or  to  the  maid. 
When  a  long  distance  oft  she  could  have  gain'd, 
She  check'd  her  swiftness,  and  her  feet  restrain'd: 
She  sigh'd  and  dwelt,  and  languish'd  on  his  face, 
Then,  with  unwilling  speed,  pursu'd  the  race.       1067 
O'er-spent  with  heat,  his  breath  he  faintly  drew ; 
Parch'd  was  his  mouth,  nor  yet  the  goal  in  view, 
And  the  first  apple  on  the  plain  he  threw.  1070 

The  nymph  stopp  d  sudden  at  th'  unusual  sight, 
Struck  with  the  fruit  so  beautifully  bright. 
Aside  she  starts,  the  wonder  to  behold, 
And  eager,  stoops  to  catch  the  rolling  gold. 


Th'  observant  youth  pass'd  by,  and scour'd  along,  1075 

While  peals  of  joy  rung  from  th'  applauding  throng; 

Unkindly  she  corrects  the  short  delay, 

And,  to  redeem  the  time,  fleets  swift  away, 

Swift  as  the  lightning,  or  the  northern  wind, 

And  far  she  leaves  the  panting  youth  behind.        1080 

Again  he  strives  the  flying  nymph  to  hold 

With  the  temptation  of  the  second  gold: 

The  bright  temptation  fruitlessly  was  toss'd, 

So  soon,  alas!  she  won  the  distance  lost. 

Now  but  a  little  interval  of  space  1085 

Remain'd  for  the  decision  of  the  race. 

Fair  author  of  the  precious  gift  (he  said), 

Be  thou,  O  goddess,  author  of  my  aid ! 

Then  of  the  shining  fruit  the  last  he  drew, 

And  with  his  full- collected  vigour  threw :  1090 

The  virgin  still  the  longer  to  detain, 

Threw  not  directly,  but  across  the  plain. 

She  seem'd  awhile  perplex'd  in  dubious  thought, 

If  the  far  distant  apple  should  be  sought : 

I  lur'd  her  backward  mind  to  seize  the  bait,  1095 

And  to  the  massy  gold  gave  double  weight. 

My  favour  to  my  votary  was  shew'd, 

Her  speed  I  lessen'd,  and  increas'd  her  load. 

But  lest,  though  long,  the  rapid  race  be  run, 

Before  my  longer  tedious  tale  is  done,  1100 

The  youth  the  goal,  and  so  the  virgin  won. 

Might  I,  Adonis,  now  not  hope  to  see 
His  grateful  thanks  pour'd  out  for  victory  1 
His  pious  incense  on  my  altars  laid? 
But  he  nor  grateful  thanks  nor  incense  paid.  1105 

Enrag'd  I  vow'd,  that  with  the  youth  the  fair, 
For  his  contempt  should  my  keen  vengeance  share ; 
That  future  lovers  m  ght  my  pow'r  revere, 
And  from  their  sad  examples  learn  to  fear, 
The  silent  fanes,  the  sanctified  abode3  1110 

Of  Cybele,  great  mother  of  the  gods, 
Rais'd  by  Echion  in  a  lonely  wood, 
And  full  of  brown,  religious  horror  stood. 
By  a  long  painful  journey,  faint,  they  chose 
Their  weary  limbs  here  secret  to  repose.  1115 

But  soon  my  pow'r  inflam'd  the  lustful  boy, 

BOOK  X.  273 

Careless  of  rest,  he  sought  untimely  joy. 

A  hallow'd,  gloomy  cave,  with  moss  o'ergrown, 

The  temple  join'd  of  native  pumice-stone, 

Where  antique  images  by  priests  were  kept,  1120 

And  wooden  deities  securely  slept. 

Thither  the  rash  Hippomenes  retires, 

And  gives  a  loose  to  all  his  wild  desires, 

And  the  chaste  cell  pollutes  with  wanton  fires. 

The  sacred  statues  trembled  with  surprise,  1125 

The  tow'ry  goddess,  blushing,  veil'd  her  eyes; 

And  the  lewd  pair  to  Stygian  sounds  had  sent, 

But  unrevengeful  seem'd  that  punishment. 

A  heavier  doom  such  black  profaneness  draws, 

Their  taper  fingers  turn  to  crooked  paws.  1130 

No  more  their  necks  the  smoothness  can  retain, 

Now  cover'd  sudden  with  a  yellow  mane. 

Arms  change  to  legs  :  each  finds  the  hard'ning  breast 

Of  rage  unknown,  and  wondrous  strength  possest. 

Their  alter'd  looks  with  fury  grim  appear,  1135 

And  on  the  ground  their  brushing  tails  they  bear  ; 

They  haunt  the  woods :  their  voices,  which  before 

Were  musically  sweet,  now  hoarsely  roar. 

Hence  lions,  dreadful  to  the  lab'ring  swains, 

Are  tam'd  by  Cybele,  and  curb'd  with  reins,         1140 

And  humbly  draw  her  car  along  the  plains. 

But  thou,  Adonis,  my  delightful  care, 

Of  these,  and  beasts,  as  fierce  as  these,  beware ! 

The  savage,  which  not  shuns  thee,  timely  shun, 

For  by  rash  prowess  should'st  thou  be  undone,      1145 

A  double  ruin  is  contain'd  in  one, 

Thus  cautious  Venus  school'd  her  fav'rite  boy, 
But  youthful  heat  all  cautions  will  destroy. 
His  sprightly  soul  beyond  grave  counsels  flies, 
While  with  yok'd  swans  the  goddess  cuts  the  skies. 
His  faithful  hounds,  led  by  the  tainted  wind,         1151 
Lodg'd  in  thick  coverts  chanc'd  a  boar  to  find. 
The  callow  hero  shew'd  a  manly  heart, 
And  pierc'd  the  savage  with  a  side-long  dart. 
The  flying  savage,  wounded,  turn'd  again,  1155 

Wrench'd  out  the  gory  dart,  and  foam'd  with  pain. 
The  trembling  boy  by  flight  his  safety  sought, 
And  now  recall'd  the  lore,  which  Venus  taught 
N  2 


But  now  too  late  to  fly  the  boar  he  strove, 

Who  in  the  groin  his  tusks  impetuous  drove,        1160 

On  the  discolour'd  grass  Adonis  lay, 

The  monster  trampling  o'er  his  beauteous  prey. 

Fair  Cytherea,  Cyprus  scarce  in  view, 
Heard  from  afar  his  groans,  and  own'd  them  true, 
And  turn'd  her  snowy  swans,  and  backward  flew. 
But  as  she  saw  him  gasp  his  latest  breath,  1166 

And  quiv'ring  agonize  in  pangs  of  death, 
Down  with  swift  flight  she  plung'd,  nor  rage  forbore, 
At  once  her  garments  and  her  hair  she  tore. 
With  cruel  blows  she  beat  her  guiltless  breast,      1170 
The  fates  upbraided,  and  her  love  confess'd. 
Nor  shall  they  yet  (she  cry'd)  the  whole  devour 
With  uncontroll'd  inexorable  pow'r : 
For  thee,  lost  youth,  my  tears  and  restless  pain 
Shall  in  immortal  monuments  remain.  1175 

With  solemn  pomp  in  annual  rites  return'd, 
Be  thou  for  ever,  my  Adonis,  mourn'd. 
Could  Pluto's  queen  with  jealous  fury  storm, 
And  Menthe  to  a  fragrant  herb  transform  1 
Yet  dares  not  Venus  with  a  change  surprise,  1180 

And  in  a  flow'r  bid  her  fall'n  hero  rise  1 
Then  on  the  blood  sweet  nectar  she  bestows, 
The  scented  blood  in  little  bubbles  rose : 
Little  as  rainy  drops,  which  flutt'ring  fly, 
Borne  by  the  winds,  along  a  low'ring  sky.  1185 

Short  time  ensu'd  till  where  the  blood  was  shed, 
A  flower  began  to  rear  its  purple  head : 
Such,  as  on  punic  apples  is  reveal'd, 
Or  in  the  filmy  rind  but  half  conceal'd. 
Still  here  the  fate  of  lovely  forms  we  see,  1190 

So  sudden  fades  the  sweet  anemonie. 
The  feeble  stems,  to  stormy  blasts  a  prey, 
Their  sickly  beauties  droop  and  pine  away. 
The  winds  forbid  the  flow'rs  to  flourish  long,         1194 
Which  owe  to  winds  their  names  in  Grecian  song. 




The  death  of  Orpheus.  The  Thracian  women  transformed  to 
trees.  The  fable  of  Midas.  The  building  of  Troy.  The  story 
of  Thetis  and  Peleus.  The  transformation  of  Dsedalion.  A 
wolf  turned  into  marble.  The  story  of  Ceyx  and  Alcyone. 
The  house  of  sleep.    iEsacus  turned  into  a  cormorant. 

Here  while  the  Thracian  bard's  enchanting  strain 

Soothes  beasts,  and  woods,  and  all  the  list'ning  plain, 

The  female  Bacchanals  devoutly  mad, 

In  shaggy  skins,  like  savage  creatures  clad, 

Warbling  in  air  perceiv'd  his  lovely  lay,  5 

And  from  a  rising  ground  beheld  him  play  : 

When  one,  the  wildest,  with  dishevell'd  hair, 

That  loosely  stream'd,  and  ruffled  in  the  air; 

Soon  as  her  frantic  eye  the  lyrist  spy'd, 

See,  see !  the  hater  of  our  sex  (she  cry'd) ;  10 

Then  at  his  face  her  missive  jav'lin  sent, 

Which  whizz'd  along,  and  brush'd  him  as  it  went; 

But  the  soft  wreaths  of  ivy  twisted  round, 

Prevent  a  deep  impression  of  the  wound. 

Another,  for  a  weapon,  hurls  a  stone,  15 

Which,  by  the  sound  subdu'd  as  soon  as  thrown, 

Falls  at  his  feet,  and  with  a  seeming  sense 

Implores  his  pardon  for  its  late  offence. 

But  now  their  frantic  rage  unbounded  grows, 

Turns  all  to  madness,  and  no  measure  knows :  20 

Yet  this  the  charms  of  music  might  subdue, 

But  that,  with  all  its  charms,  is  conquer'd  too; 

In  louder  strains  their  hideous  yellings  rise, 

And  squeaking  horn-pipes  echo  through  the  skies, 

Which,  in  hoarse  concert  with  the  drum,  confound  25 

The  moving  lyre,  and  ev'ry  gentle  sound  : 

Then  'twas  the  deafen'd  stones  flew  on  with  speed, 

And  saw,  unsooth'd,  their  tuneful  poet  bleed. 

The  birds,  the  beasts,  and  all  the  savage  crew 

Which  the  sweet  lyrist  to  attention  drew,  30 

Now,  by  the  female  mob's  more  furious  rage, 

Are  driv'n,  and  forc'd  to  quit  the  shady  stage. 

Next  their  fierce  hands  the  bard  himself  assail, 

Nor  can  his  song  against  their  wrath  prevail : 


They  flock,  like  birds ;  when,  in  a  clust'ring  flight,  35 

By  day  they  chase  the  boding  fowl  of  night. 

So,  crowded  amphitheatres  surrey 

The  stag  to  greedy  dogs  a  future  prey. 

Their  steely  jav'lins  which  soft  curls  entwine 

Of  budding  tendrils  from  the  leafy  vine,  40 

For  sacred  rites  of  mild  religion  made, 

Are  flung  promiscuous  at  the  poet's  head. 

Those  clods  of  earth,  or  flints  discharge,  and  these 

Hurl  prickly  branches  sliver' d  from  the  trees. 

And,  lest  their  passion  should  be  unsupplied,  45 

The  rabble  crew,  by  chance,  at  distance  spy'd 

Where  oxen  straining  at  the  heavy  yoke, 

The  fallow'd  field  with  slow  advances  broke; 

Nigh  which  the  brawny  peasants  dug  the  soil, 

Procuring  food  with  long  laborious  toil.  50 

These,  when  they  saw  the  ranting  throng  draw  near, 

Quitted  their  tools,  and  fled  possess'd  with  fear. 

Long  spades  and  rakes  of  mighty  size  were  found, 

Carelessly  left  upon  the  broken  ground: 

With  these  the  furious  lunatics  engage,  55 

And  first  the  labouring  oxen  feel  their  rage; 

Then  to  the  poet  they  return'd  with  speed 

Whose  fate  was,  past  prevention,  now  decreed : 

In  vain  he  lifts  his  suppliant  hands,  in  vain 

He  tries,  before,  his  never-failing  strain.  60 

And,  from  those  sacred  lips,  whose  thrilling  sound 

Fierce  tigers  and  insensate  rocks  could  wound, 

Ah  gods !  how  moving  was  the  mournful  sight, 

To  see  the  fleeting  soul  now  take  its  flight. 

Thee  the  soft  warblers  of  the  feather'd  kind  65 

Bewail'd;  for  thee  thy  savage  audience  pin'd: 

Those  rocks  and  woods  that  oft  thy  strain  had  led, 

Mourn  for  their  charmer,  and  lament  him  dead, 

And  drooping  trees  their  leafy  glories  shed. 

Naiads  and  Dryads  with  dishevell'd  hair  70 

Promiscuous  weep,  and  scarfs  of  sable  wear ; 

Nor  could  the  river-gods  conceal  their  moan, 

But  with  new  floods  of  tears  augment  their  own. 

His  mangled  limbs  lay  scatter'd  all  around, 

His  head  and  harp  a  better  fortune  found  ;  75 

In  Hebrus'  streams  they  gently  roll'd  along, 

BOOK  XI.  277 

And  sooth'd  the  waters  with  a  mournful  song. 

Soft  deadly  notes  the  lifeless  tongue  inspire, 

A  doleful  tune  sounds  from  the  floating  lyre ; 

The  hollow  hanks  in  solemn  concert  mourn,  80 

And  the  sad  strain  in  echoing  groans  return, 

Now  with  the  current  to  the  sea  they  glide, 

Borne  by  the  billows  of  the  briny  tide  ; 

And  driv'n  where  waves  round  rocky  Lesbos  roar, 

They  strand  and  lodge  upon  Methymna's  shore.       85 

But  here,  when  landed  on  the  foreign  soil, 
A  venom'd  snake,  the  product  of  the  isle, 
Attempts  the  head,  and  sacred  locks  embru'd 
With  clotted  gore,  and  still  fresh-dropping  blood. 
Phoebus,  at  last,  his  kind  protection  gives,  90 

And  from  the  fact  the  greedy  monster  drives : 
Whose  marbled  jaws  his  impious  crime  atone, 
Still  grinning  ghastly,  though  transform'd  to  stone. 

His  ghost  flies  downward  to  the  Stygian  shore, 
And  knows  the  places  it  had  seen  before :  95 

Among  the  shadows  of  the  pious  train 
He  finds  Eurydice,  and  loves  again; 
With  pleasure  views  the  beauteous  phantom's  charms, 
And  clasps  her  in  his  unsubstantial  arms. 
There  side  by  side  they  unmolested  walk,  100 

Or  pass  their  blissful  hours  in  pleasing  talk ; 
Aft  or  before  the  bard  securely  goes, 
And,  without  danger,  can  review  his  spouse. 

Bacchus,  resolving  to  revenge  the  wrong, 
Of  Orpheus  murder'd,  qji  the  madding  throng,        105 
Decreed  that  each  accomplice-dame  should  stand 
Fix'd  by  the  roots  along  the  conscious  land. 
Their  wicked  feet  that  late  so  nimbly  ran 
To  wreak  their  malice  on  the  guiltless  man, 
Sudden  with  twisted  ligatures  were  bound,  110 

Like  trees,  deep  planted  in  the  turfy  ground. 
And  as  the  fowler  with  his  subtle  gins, 
His  feather'd  captives  by  the  feet  entwines, 
That  flutt'ring  pant,  and  struggle  to  get  loose, 
Yet  only  closer  draw  the  fatal  noose :  115 

So  these  were  caught;  and,  as  they  strove  in  vain 
To  quit  the  place,  they  but  increas'd  their  pain. 


They  flounce  and  toil,  yet  find  themselves  controll'd, 

The  root,  though  pliant,  toughly  keeps  its  held. 

In  vain  their  toes  and  feet  they  look  to  find,  120 

For  e'en  their  shapely  legs  are  cloth'd  with  rind. 

One  smites  her  thighs  with  a  lamenting  stroke, 

And  finds  the  flesh  transform'd  to  solid  oak ; 

Another  with  surprise  and  grief  distrest, 

Lays  on  above,  but  beats  a  wooden  breast.  125 

A  rugged  bark  their  softer  neck  invades, 

Their  branching  arms  shoot  up  delightful  shades; 

At  once  they  seem,  and  are  a  real  grove, 

With  mossy  trunks  below,  and  verdant  leaves  above. 

Nor  this  suffie'd;  the  god's  disgust  remains,        130 
And  he  resolves  to  quit  their  hated  plains ; 
The  vineyards  of  Tymole  engross  his  care, 
And,  with  a  better  choir,  he  fixes  there ; 
Where  the  smooth  streams  of  clear  Pactolus  roll'd, 
Then  undistinguish'd  for  its  sands  of  gold.  135 

The  satyrs  with  the  nymphs,  his  usual  throng, 
Come  to  salute  their  god,  and  jovial  dance  along. 
Silenus  only  miss'd:  for  while  he  reel'd, 
Feeble  with  age  and  wine,  about  the  field, 
The  hoary  drunkard  had  forgot  his  way,  140 

And  to  the  Phrygian  clowns  became  a  prey ; 
Who  to  king  Midas  drag  the  captive-god, 
While  on  his  totty  pate  the  wreaths  of  ivy  nod. 

Midas  from  Orpheus  had  been  taught  his  lore, 
And  knew  the  rites  of  Bacchus  long  before :  145 

He,  when  he  saw  his  venerable  guest, 
In  honour  of  the  god  ordain'd  a  feast. 
Ten  days  in  course,  with  each  continu'd  night, 
Were  spent  in  genial  mirth,  and  brisk  delight; 
Then  on  th'  eleventh,  when  with  brighter  ray         150 
Phosphor  had  chas'd  the  fading  stars  away, 
The  king  through  Lydia's  fields  young  Bacchus  sought, 
And  to  the  god  his  foster-father  brought. 
Pleas'd  with  the  welcome  sight,  he  bids  him  soon 
But  name  his  wish,  and  swears  to  grant  the  boon.  155 
A  glorious  offer !  yet  but  ill  bestow'd 
On  him  whose  choice  so  little  judgment  shew'd. 

BOOK  XI.  279 

Give  me,  says  he  (nor  thought  he  ask'd  too  much), 

That  with  my  body  wheresoe'er  I  touch, 

Chang'd  from  the  nature  which  it  held  of  old,         160 

May  be  converted  into  yellow  gold. 

He  had  his  wish :  but  yet  the  god  repin'd 

To  think  the  fool  no  better  wish  could  find. 

But  the  brave  king  departed  from  the  place, 
With  smiles  of  gladness  sparkling  in  his  face;        165 
Nor  could  contain,  but,  as  he  took  his  way, 
Impatient  longs  to  make  the  first  essay. 
Down  from  a  lowly  branch  a  twig  he  drew, 
The  twig  straight  glitter'd  with  a  golden  hue : 
He  takes  a  stone,  the  stone  was  turn'd  to  gold ;       170 
A  clod  he  touches,  and  the  crumbling  mould 
Acknowledg'd  soon  the  great  transforming  pow'r, 
In  weight  and  substance  like  a  mass  of  ore. 
He  pluck'd  the  corn,  and  straight  his  grasp  appears 
Fill'd  with  a  bending  tuft  of  golden  ears.  175 

An  apple  next  he  takes,  and  seems  to  hold 
The  bright  Hesperian  vegetable  gold. 
His  hand  he  careless  on  a  pillar  lays, 
With  shining  gold  the  fluted  pillars  blaze: 
And  while  he  wishes,  as  the  servants  pour,  180 

His  touch  converts  the  stream  to  Danae's  show'r. 

To  see  these  miracles  so  finely  wrought, 
Fires  with  transporting  joy  his  giddy  thought: 
The  ready  slaves  prepare  a  sumptuous  board, 
Spread  with  rich  dainties  for  their  happy  lord ;       185 
Whose  pow'rful  hands  the  bread  no  sooner  hold, 
But  its  whole  substance  is  transform'd  to  gold: 
Up  to  bis  mouth  he  lifts  the  sav'ry  meat, 
Which  turns  to  gold  as  he  attempts  to  eat : 
His  patron's  noble  juice,  of  purple  hue,  190 

Touch'd  by  his  lips  a  gilded  cordial  grew ; 
Unfit  for  drink,  and,  wondrous  to  behold, 
It  trickles  from  his  jaws  a  fluid  gold. 

The  rich  poor  fool,  confounded  with  surprise, 
Starving  in  all  his  various  plenty  lies:  195 

Sick  of  his  wish,  he  now  detests  the  pow'r 
For  which  he  ask'd  so  earnestly  before; 
Amidst  his  gold  with  pinching  famine  curst, 
And  justly  tortur'd  with  an  equal  thirst. 


At  last  his  shining  arms  to  heav'n  he  rears,  200 

And,  in  distress,  for  refuge  flies  to  pray'rs : 

O  father  Bacchus,  I  have  sinn'd  (he  cry'd), 

And  foolishly  thy  gracious  gift  apply'd ; 

Thy  pity  now,  repenting,  I  implore ; 

Oh,  may  I  feel  the  golden  plague  no  morel  205 

The  hungry  wretch,  his  folly  thus  confess'd, 
Touch'd  the  kind  deity's  good-natur'd  breast ; 
The  gentle  god  annull'd  his  first  decree, 
And  from  the  cruel  compact  set  him  free. 
But  then,  to  cleanse  him  quite  from  farther  harm,  210 
And  to  dilute  the  relics  of  the  charm, 
He  bids  him  seek  the  stream  that  cuts  the  land 
Nigh  where  the  tow'rs  of  Lydian  Sardis  stand; 
Then  trace  the  river  to  the  fountain-head, 
And  meet  it  rising  from  its  rocky  bed ;  215 

There,  as  the  bubbling  tide  pours  forth  amain, 
To  plunge  his  body  in,  and  wash  away  the  stain. 
The  king  instructed,  to  the  fount  retires; 
But  with  the  golden  charm  the  stream  inspires : 
For  while  this  quality  the  man  forsakes,  220 

An  equal  pow'r  the  limpid  water  takes; 
In  forms  with  veins  of  gold  the  neighb'ring  land, 
And  glides  along  a  bed  of  golden  sand. 

Now  loathing  wealth,  th'  occasion  of  his  woes, 
Far  in  the  woods  he  sought  a  calm  repose ;  225 

In  caves  and  grottoes,  where  the  nymphs  resort, 
And  keep  with  mountain  Pan  their  silvan  court, 
Ah!  had  he  left  his  stupid  soul  behind! 
But  his  condition  alter'd  not  his  mind. 

For  where  high  Tmolus  rears  his  shady  brow,     230 
And  from  his  cliffs  surveys  the  seas  below, 
In  his  descent,  by  Sardis  bounded  here, 
By  the  small  confines  of  Hypaepa  there, 
Pan  to  the  nymphs  his  frolic  ditties  play'd, 
Tuning  his  reeds  beneath  the  checker'd  shade.        235 
The  nymphs  are  pleas'd  :  the  boasting  sylvan  plays, 
And  speaks  with  slight  of  great  Apollo's  lays. 
Tmolus  was  arbiter ;  the  boaster  still 
Accepts  the  trial  with  unequal  skill. 
The  venerable  judge  was  seated  high  240 

On  bis  own  hill,  that  seem'd  to  touch  the  sky. 

BOOK  XI.  281 

Above  the  wbisp'ring  trees  his  head  he  rears, 
From  their  incumb'ring  boughs  to  free  his  ears; 
A  wreath  of  oak  alone  his  temples  bound, 
The  pendent  acorns  loosely  dangled  round.  245 

In  me  your  judge  (says  he),  there's  no  delay: 
Then  bids  the  goatherd  god  begin  and  play. 

Pan  tun'd  the  pipe,  and  with  his  rural  song 
Pleas'd  the  low  taste  of  all  the  vulgar  throng ; 
Such  songs  a  vulgar  judgment  mostly  please:  250 

Midas  was  there,  and  Midas  judg'd  with  these. 

The  mountain  sire,  with  grave  deportment,  now 
To  Phoebus  turns  his  venerable  brow  ; 
And,  as  he  turns,  with  him  the  list'ning  wood 
In  the  same  posture  of  attention  stood.  255 

The  god  his  own  Parnassian  laurel  crown'd, 
And  in  a  wreath  his  golden  tresses  bound, 
Graceful  his  purple  mantle  swept  the  ground. 
High  on  the  left  his  iv'ry  lute  he  rais'd ; 
The  lute,  emboss'd  with  glitt'ring  jewels,  blaz'd.     260 
In  his  right  hand  he  nicely  held  the  quill ; 
His  easy  posture  spoke  a  master's  skill. 
The  strings  he  touch'd  with  more  than  human  art, 
Which  pleas'd  the  judge's  ear,  and  sooth'd  his  heart ; 
Who  soon  judiciously  the  palm  decreed,  265 

And  to  the  lute  postpon'd  the  squeaking  reed. 

All,  with  applause,  the  rightful  sentence  heard, 
Midas  alone  dissatisfied  appear'd ; 
To  him  unjustly  giv'n  the  judgment  seems, 
For  Pan's  barbaric  notes  he  most  esteems.  270 

The  lyric  god,  who  thought  his  untun'd  ear 
Deserv'd  but  ill  a  human  form  to  wear, 
Of  that  deprives  him,  and  supplies  the  place 
With  some  more  fit,  and  of  an  ampler  space : 
Fix'd  on  his  noddle  an  unseemly  pair,  275 

Flagging,  and  large,  and  full  of  whitish  hair; 
Without  a  total  change  of  what  he  was, 
Still  in  the  man  preserve  the  simple  ass. 

He,  to  conceal  the  scandal  of  the  deed, 
A  purple  turban  folds  about  his  head;  280 

Veils  the  reproach  from  public  view,  and  fears 
The  laughing  world  would  spy  his  monstrous  ears. 
One  trusty  barber-slave,  that  us'd  to  dress 


His  master's  hair,  when  lengthen'd  to  excess, 

The  mighty  secret  knew,  but  knew  alone,  285 

And,  though  impatient,  durst  not  make  it  known. 

Restless,  at  last  a  private  place  he  found, 

Then  dug  a  hole,  and  told  it  to  the  ground; 

In  a  low  whisper  he  reveal'd  the  case,  289 

And  cover'd  in  the  earth,  and  silent  left  the  place. 

In  time,  of  trembling  reeds  a  plenteous  crop 
From  the  confided  furrow  sprouted  up : 
Which,  high  advancing  with  the  rip'ning  year, 
Made  known  the  tiller,  and  his  fruitless  care : 
For  then  the  rustling  blades,  and  whisp'ring  wind, 
To  tell  th'  important  secret  both  combin'd.  296 

Phoebus,  with  full  revenge,  from  Tmolus  flies, 
Darts  through  the  air,  and  cleaves  the  liquid  skies; 
Near  Hellespont  he  lights,  and  treads  the  plains 
Where  great  Labmedon  sole  monarch  reigns  ;         300 
Where,  built  between  the  two  projecting  strands, 
To  Panomphaean  Jove  an  altar  stands. 
Here  first  aspiring  thoughts  the  king  employ, 
To  found  the  lofty  tow'rs  of  future  Troy. 
The  work,  from  schemes  magnificent  begun,  305 

At  vast  expense  was  slowly  carried  on: 
Which  Phoebus  seeing  with  the  trident  god, 
Who  rules  the  swelling  surges  with  his  nod, 
Assuming  each  a  mortal  shape,  combine 
At  a  sot  price  to  finish  his  design.  310 

The  work  was  built;  the  king  their  price  denies, 
And  his  injustice  backs  with  perjuries. 
This  Neptune  could  not  brook,  but  drove  the  main, 
A  mighty  deluge  o'er  the  Phrygian  plain : 
'Twas  all  a  sea,  the  waters  of  the  deep  315 

From  ev'ry  vale  the  copious  harvest  sweep ; 
The  briny  billows  overflow  the  soil, 
Ravage  the  fields,  and  mock  the  ploughman's  toil. 

Nor  this  appeas'd  the  god's  revengeful  mind, 
For  still  a  greater  plague  remains  behind ;  320 

A  huge  sea-monster  lodges  on  the  sands, 
And  the  king's  daughter  for  his  prey  demands. 
To  him  that  sav'd  the  damsel  was  decreed, 
A  set  of  horses  of  the  sun's  fine  breed ; 

BOOK  XI.  283 

But  when  Alcides  from  the  rock  untied  325 

The  trembling  fair,  the  ransom  was  deny'd, 

He,  in  revenge,  the  new-built  wall3  attack'd, 

And  the  twice  perjur'd  city  bravely  sack'd. 

Telamon  aided,  and  in  justice  shar'd 

Part  of  the  plunder  as  his  due  reward ;  330 

The  princess,  rescu'd  late,  with  all  her  charms, 

Hesione  was  yielded  to  his  arms ; 

For  Peleus,  with  a  goddess-bride  was  more 

Proud  of  his  spouse,  than  of  his  birth  before; 

Grandsons  to  Jove  there  might  be  more  than  one,  335 

But  he  the  goddess  had  enjoy'd  alone. 

For  Proteus  thus  to  virgin  Thetis  said : 
Fair  goddess  of  the  waves,  consent  to  wed, 
And  take  some  sprightly  lover  to  your  bed. 
A  son  you'll  have,  the  terror  of  the  field,  340 

To  whom  in  fame,  and  pow'r  his  sire  shall  \ield. 

Jove,  who  ador'd  the  nymph  with  boundless  love, 
Did  from  his  breast  the  dang'rous  flame  remove. 
He  knew  the  fates,  nor  car'd  to  raise  up  one, 
Whose  fame  and  greatness  should  eclipse  his  own. 
On  happy  Peleus  he  bestow'd  her  charms,  346 

And  bless'd  his  grandson  in  the  goddess'  arms : 

A  silent  creek  Thessalia's  coast  can  shew; 
Two  arms  project,  and  shape  it  like  a  bow ; 
'Twould  make  a  bay,  but  the  transparent  tide         350 
Does  scarce  the  yellow  gravel  bottom  hide ; 
For  the  quick  eye  may  through  the  liquid  wave 
A  firm  unweedy  level  beach  perceive. 
A  grove  of  fragrant  myrtle  near  it  grows, 
Whose  boughs,  though  thick,  a  beauteous  grot  disclose: 
The  well-wrought  fabric,  to  discerning  eyes,  t56 

Rather  by  art  than  nature  seems  to  rise. 
A  bridled  dolphin  oft  fair  Thetis  bore 
To  this  her  lov'd  retreat,  her  f av'rite  shore ; 
Here  Peleus  seiz'd  her,  slumb'ring  where  she  lay, 
And  urg'd  his  suit  with  all  that  love  could  say :      361 
But  when  he  found  her  obstinately  coy, 
Resolv'd  to  force  her,  and  command  the  joy; 
The  nymph,  o'erpower'd,  to  art  for  succour  flies, 
And  various  shapes  the  eager  youth  surprise  :         365 


A  bird  she  seems,  but  plies  her  wings  in  vain, 

His  hands  the  fleeting  substance  still  detain : 

A  branchy  tree  high  in  the  air  she  grew ; 

About  its  bark  his  nimble  arms  he  threw  : 

A  tiger  next  she  glares  with  flaming  eyes  ;  370 

The  frighten'd  lover  quits  his  hold,  and  flies: 

The  sea-gods  he  with  sacred  rites  adores, 

Then  a  libation  on  the  ocean  pours; 

While  the  fat  entrails  crackle  in  the  fire, 

And  sheets  of  smoke  in  sweet  perfume  aspire ;        375 

Till  Proteus  rising  from  his  oozy  bed, 

Thus  to  the  poor  desponding  lover  said: 

No  more  in  anxious  thoughts  your  mind  employ, 

For  yet  you  shall  possess  the  dear  expected  joy. 

You  must  once  more  th'  unwary  nymph  surprise,  380 

As  in  her  coolly  grot  she  slumb'ring  lies; 

Then  bind  her  fast  with  unrelenting  hands, 

And  strain  her  tender  limbs  with  knotted  bands ; 

Still  hold  her  under  ev'ry  different  shape, 

Till  tir'd  she  tries  no  longer  to  escape.  385 

Thus  he;  then  sunk  beneath  the  glassy  flood, 

And  broken  accents  flutter'd,  where  he  stood. 

Bright  Sol  had  almost  now  his  journey  done, 
And  down  the  steepy  western  convex  run ; 
When  the  fair  Nereid  left  the  briny  wave,  390 

And,  as  she  us'd,  retreated  to  her  cave. 
He  scarce  had  bound  her  fast,  when  she  arose, 
And  into  various  shapes  her  body  throws  : 
She  went  to  move  her  arms,  and  found  'em  ty'd; 
Then  with  a  sigh,  Some  god  assists,  she  cry'd,        395 
And  in  her  proper  shape  stood  blushing  by  his  side. 
Afrout  her  waist  his  longing  arms  he  flung, 
From  which  embrace  the  great  Achilles  sprung. 

Peleus  unmix'd  felicity  enjoy'd 
(Blest  in  a  valiant  son,  and  virtuous  bride),  400 

Till  fortune  did  in  blood  his  hands  imbrue, 
And  his  own  brother  by  curs'd  chance  he  slew : 
Then  driv'n  from  Thessaly,  his  native  clime, 
Trachinia  first  gave  shelter  to  his  crime ; 
Where  peaceful  Ceyx  mildly  fill'd  the  throne,        405 
And  like  his  sire,  the  morning  planet  shone; 

BOOK  XI.  285 

But  now  unlike  himself  bedew'd  with  tears, 

Mourning  a  brother  lost,  his  brow  appears. 

First  to  the  town  with  travel  spent,  and  care, 

Peleus,  and  his  small  company  repair:  410 

His  herds,  and  flocks,  the  while  at  leisure  feed, 

On  the  rich  pasture  of  a  neigbb'ring  mead. 

The  prince  before  the  royal  presence  brought, 

Shew'd  by  the  suppliant  olive  what  he  sought: 

Then  tells  his  name,  and  race,  and  country  right,  415 

But  hides  th'  unhappy  reason  of  his  flight. 

He  begs  the  king  some  little  town  to  give, 

Where  they  may  safe,  his  faithful  vassals  live. 

Ceyx  replied:  To  all,  my  bounty  flows; 

A  hospitable  realm  your  suit  has  chose:  420 

Your  glorious  race,  and  far-resounding  fame, 

And  grandsire  Jove,  peculiar  favours  claim. 

All  you  can  wish,  I  grant;  entreaties  spare; 

My  kingdom  (would  'twere  worth  the  sharing)  share. 

Tears  stopp'd  his  speech :  astonish'd  Peleus  pleads 
To  know  the  cause  from  whence  his  grief  proceeds. 
The  prince  replied :  There's  none  of  ye  but  deems 
This  hawk  was  ever  such  as  now  it  seems : 
Know,  'twas  a  hero  once,  Daedalion  nam'd, 
For  warlike  deeds  and  haughty  valour  fam'd;         430 
Like  me  to  that  bright  luminary  born, 
Who  wakes  Aurora,  and  brings  on  the  morn. 
His  fierceness  still  remains,  and  love  of  blood, 
Now  dread  of  birds,  and  tyrant  of  the  wood. 
My  make  was  softer,  peace  my  greatest  care ;        435 
But  this,  my  brother,  wholly  bent  on  war, 
Late  nations  fear'd,  and  routed  armies  fled 
That  force,  which  now  the  tim'rous  pigeons  dread. 
A  daughter  he  possess'd  divinely  fair, 
And  scarcely  yet  had  seen  her  fifteenth  year,         440 
Young  Chione :  a  thousand  rivals  strove 
To  win  the  maid,  and  teach  her  how  to  love. 
Phoebus,  and  Mercury,  by  chance  one  day 
From  Delphi,  and  Cyllene  pass'd  this  way; 
Together  they  the  virgin  saw :  desire  445 

At  once  warm'd  both  their  breasts  with  am'rous  fire. 
Phoebus  resolv'd  to  wait  till  close  of  day : 


But  Mercury's  hot  love  brook'd  no  delay: 

With  his  entrancing  rod  the  maid  he  charms, 

And  unresisted  revels  in  her  arms.  450 

Twas  night,  and  Phoebus  in  a  beldame's  dress, 

To  the  late  rifled  beauty  got  access. 

Her  time  complete  nine  circling  moons  had  run  : 

To  either  god  she  bore  a  lovely  son : 

To  Mercury,  Autolycus  she  brought,  465 

Who  turn'd  to  thefts  and  tricks  his  subtle  thought ; 

Possest  he  was  of  all  his  father's  slight, 

At  will  made  white  look  black,  and  black  look  white. 

Philammon,  born  to  Phoebus,  like  his  sire 

The  muses  lov'd,  and  finely  struck  the  lyre,  460 

And  made  his  voice  and  touch  in  harmony  conspire. 

In  vain,  fond  maid,  you  boast  this  double  birth, 

The  love  of  gods,  and  royal  father's  worth, 

And  Jove  among  your  ancestors  rehearse! 

Could  blessings  such  as  these  e'er  prove  a  curse  1    465 

To  her  they  did,  who  with  audacious  pride, 

Vain  of  her  own,  Diana'3  charms  decry'd. 

Her  taunts  the  goddess  with  resentment  fill. 

My  face  you  like  not,  you  shall  try  my  skill.  469 

She  said  ;  and  straight  her  vengeful  bow  she  strung, 

And  sent  a  shaft  that  pierc'd  her  guilty  tongue  : 

The  bleeding  tongue  in  vain  its  accents  tries; 

In  the  red  stream  her  soul  reluctant  flies. 

With  sorrow  wild  I  ran  to  her  relief, 

And  tried  to  moderate  my  brother's  grief;  475 

He,  deaf  as  rocks  by  stormy  surges  beat, 

Loudly  laments  and  hears  me  not  intreat. 

When  on  the  fun'ral  pile  he  saw  her  laid, 

Thrice  he  to  rush  into  the  flames  essay'd, 

Thrice  with  officious  care  by  us  was  staid.  480 

Now,  mad  with  grief,  away  he  fled  amain, 

Like  a  stung  heifer  that  resents  the  pain, 

O'er  the  most  rugged  ways  so  fast  he  ran, 

He  seem'd  a  bird  already,  not  a  man :  485 

He  left  us  breathless  all  behind ;  and  now, 

In  quest  of  death,  had  gain'd  Parnassus'  brow : 

But  when  from  thence  headlong  himself  he  threw, 

He  fell  not,  but  with  airy  pinions  flew. 

Phoebus  in  pity  chang'd  him  to  a  fowl,  490 

BOOK  XI.  287 

Whose  crooked  beak  and  claws  the  birds  control, 
Little  of  bulk,  but  of  a  warlike  soul. 
A  hawk  become,  the  feather'd  race's  foe, 
He  tries  to  ease  his  own  by  other's  woe. 

While  they,  astonish 'd,  heard  the  king  relate       495 
These  wonders  of  his  hapless  brother's  fate  ; 
The  prince's  herdsman  at  the  court  arrives, 
And  fresh  surprise  to  all  the  audience  gives : — 

0  Peleus,  Peleus,  dreadful  news  1  bear 

(He  said) ;  and  trembled  as  he  spoke,  for  fear.         500 
The  worst,  affrighted  Peleus  bid  him  tell, 
Whilst  Ceyx,  too,  grew  pale  with  friendly  zeal. 
Thus  he  began:  When  Sol  mid-heav'n  had  gain'd, 
And  half  his  way  was  pass'd,  and  half  remain'd, 

1  to  the  level  shore  my  cattle  drove,  505 
And  let  them  freely  in  the  meadows  rove ; 

Some  stretch'd  at  length,  admire  the  wat'ry  plain; 

Some  cropp'd  the  herb,  some  wanton  swam  the  main. 

A  temple  stands  of  antique  make,  hard  by, 

Where  no  gilt  domes  nor  marble  lure  the  eye;        510 

Unpolish'd  rafters  bear  its  lowly  height, 

Hid  by  a  grove,  as  ancient,  from  the  sight. 

Here  Nereus  and  the  Nereids  they  adore ; 

I  learnt  it  from  the  man  who  thither  bore 

His  net,  to  dry  it  on  the  sunny  shore.  515 

Adjoins  a  lake,  inclos'd  with  willows  round, 

Where  swelling  waves  have  overflow'd  the  mound, 

And,  muddy,  stagnate  on  the  lower  ground. 

From  thence  a  rustling  noise  increasing  flies,  519 

Strikes  the  still  shore,  and  frights  us  with  surprise. 

Straight  a  huge  wolf  rush'd  from  the  marshy  wood, 

His  jaws  besmear'd  with  mingled  foam  and  blood. 

Though  equally  by  hunger  urg'd,  and  rage, 

His  appetite  he  minds  not  to  assuage; 

Nought  that  he  meets,  his  rapid  fury  spares,  525 

But  the  whole  herd  with  mad  disorder  tears. 

Some  of  our  men,  who  strove  to  drive  him  thence, 

Torn  by  his  teeth,  have  died  in  their  defence. 

The  echoing  lakes,  the  sea,  and  fields,  and  shore, 

Impurpled  blush  with  streams  of  reeking  gore.       530 

Delay  is  loss,  nor  have  we  time  for  thought; 


While  yet  some  few  remain  alive,  we  ought 

To  seize  our  arms,  aud,  with  confederate  force, 

Try  if  we  so  can  stop  his  bloody  course. 

But  Peleus  car'd  not  for  his  ruin'd  herd  ;  535 

His  ciime  he  call'd  to  mind,  and  thence  inferr'd, 

That  Psamathe's  revenge  this  havoc  made, 

In  sacrifice  to  murder'd  Phocus'  shade. 

The  king  commands  hi3  servants  to  their  arms, 

Resolv'd  to  go :  but  the  loud  noise  alarms  540 

His  lovely  queen,  who  from  her  chamber  flew, 

And  her  half-plaited  hair  behind  her  threw  : 

About  his  neck  she  hung  with  loving  fears, 

And  now  with  words,  and  now  with  pleading  tears, 

Intreated  that  he'd  send  his  men  alone,  545 

And  stay  himself  to  save  two  lives  in  one. 

Then  Peleus:  Your  just  fears,  O  queen,  forget; 

Too  much  the  offer  leaves  me  in  your  debt. 

No  arms  against  the  monster  I  shall  bear, 

But  the  sea-nymphs  appease  with  humble  pray'r.  550 

The  citadel's  high  turrets  pierce  the  sky, 
Which  home-bound  vessels,  glad,  from  far  descry ; 
This  they  ascend,  and  thence  with  sorrow  ken, 
The  mangled  heifers  lie,  and  bleeding  men  ; 
Th'  inexorable  ravager  they  view,  555 

With  blood  discolour'd,  still  the  rest  pursue : 
There  Peleus  pray'd  submissive  tow'rds  the  sea, 
And  deprecates  the  ire  of  injur'd  Psamathe. 
But  deaf  to  all  his  pray'rs  the  nymph  remain'd, 
Till  Thetis  for  her  spouse  the  boon  obtain'd.  560 

Pleas'd  with  the  luxury,  the  furious  beast, 
Unstopp'd,  continues  still  his  bloody  feast : 
While  yet  upon  a  sturdy  bull  he  flew, 
Chang'd  by  the  nymph,  a  marble  block  he  grew. 
No  longer  dreadful  now  the  wolf  appears,  565 

Buried  in  stone,  and  vanish'd  like  their  fears. 
Yet  still  the  fates  unhappy  Peleus  vex'd: 
To  the  Magnesian  shore  he  wanders  next. 
Acastus  there,  who  rul'd  the  peaceful  clime, 
Grants  his  request,  and  expiates  his  crime.  570 

These  prodigies  affect  the  pious  prince, 
But  more  perplex'd  with  those  that  happen'd  since, 

BOOK  XI.  289 

He  purposes  to  seek  tbe  Clarian  god, 

Avoiding  Delphi,  his  more  fam'd  abode, 

Since  Phlegian  robbers  made  unsafe  the  road.         575 

Yet  could  he  not  from  her  be  lov'd  so  well, 

The  fatal  voyage,  he  resolv'd,  conceal ; 

But  when  she  saw  her  lord  prepar'd  to  part, 

A  deadly  cold  ran  shiv'ring  to  her  heart ; 

Her  faded  cheeks  are  chang'd  to  boxen  hue,  580 

And  in  her  eyes  the  tears  are  ever  new. 

She  thrice  essay'd  to  speak;  her  accents  hung, 

And  fault'ring  died  unfinish'd  on  her  tongue, 

Or  vanish'd  into  sighs  :  With  long  delay 

Her  voice  return'd,  and  found  the  wonted  way.     585 

Tell  me,  my  lord  (she  said),  what  fault  unknown 
Thy  once-belov'd  Alcyone  has  done  1 
Whither,  ah  whither,  is  thy  kindness  gone  ? 
Can  Ceyx  then  sustain  to  leave  his  wife, 
And  unconcerned  forsake  the  sweets  of  life  1  590 

What  can  thy  mind  to  this  long  journey  move? 
Or  need'st  thou  absence  to  renew  thy  love  ? 
Yet,  if  thou  go'st  by  land,  though  grief  possess 
My  soul  e'en  then,  my  fears  will  be  the  less. 
But  ah !  be  warn'd  to  shun  the  wat'ry  way,  595 

The  face  is  frightful  of  the  stormy  sea: 
For  late  I  saw  adrift  disjointed  planks, 
And  empty  tombs  erected  on  the  banks. 
Nor  let  false  hopes  to  trust  betray  thy  mind, 
Because  my  sire  in  caves  constrains  the  wind,        600 
Can  with  a  breath  their  clam'rous  rage  appease, 
They  fear  his  whistle,  and  forsake  the  seas  : 
Not  so ;  for  once  indulg'd,  they  sweep  the  main ; 
Deaf  to  the  call,  or,  hearing,  hear  in  vain ; 
But  bent  on  mischief,  bear  the  waves  before,  C.O~> 

And  not  content  with  seas,  insult  the  shore, 
When  ocean,  air,  and  earth,  at  once  engage, 
And  rooted  forests  fly  before  their  rage : 
At  once  the  clashing  clouds  to  battle  move, 
And  lightnings  run  across  the  fields  above  :  610 

I  know  them  well,  and  mark'd  their  rude  comport, 
While  yet  a  child  within  my  father's  court : 
In  times  of  tempest  they  command  alone, 


And  he  but  sits  precarious  on  the  throne  : 

The  more  I  know,  the  more  my  fears  augment;     615 

And  fears  are  oft  prophetic  of  th'  event. 

But,  if  not  fears  or  reasons  will  prevail, 

If  fate  has  fix'd  thee  obstinate  to  sail, 

Go  not  without  thy  wife,  but  let  me  bear 

My  part  of  danger  with  an  equal  share,  620 

And  present,  what  I  suffer,  only  fear : 

Then  o'er  the  bounding  billows  shall  we  fly, 

Secure  to  live  together,  or  to  die. 

These  reasons  mov'd  her  warlike  husband's  heart, 
But  still  he  held  his  purpose  to  depart:  625 

For  as  he  lov'd  her  equal  to  his  life, 
He  would  not  to  the  seas  expose  bis  wife ; 
Nor  could  be  wrought  his  voyage  to  refrain, 
But  sought  by  arguments  to  soothe  her  pain: 
Nor  these  avail'd ;  at  length  he  lights  on  one,        630 
With  which  so  difficult  a  cause  he  won : 
My  love,  so  short  an  absence  cease  to  fear, 
For  by  my  father's  hely  flame  I  swear, 
Before  two  moons  their  orb  with  light  adorn, 
If  heav'n  allow  me  life,  I  will  return.  035 

This  promise  of  so  short  a  stay  prevails; 
He  soon  equips  the  ship,  supplies  the  sails, 
And  gives   the   word  to  launch ;   she   trembling 

This  pomp  of  death,  and  parting  tears  renews  : 
Last  with  a  kiss,  she  took  a  long  farewell,  640 

Sigh'd  with  a  sad  presage,  and,  swooning,  fell: 
"While  Ceyx  seeks  delays,  the  lusty  crew, 
Rais'd  on  their  banks,  their  oars  in  order  drew 
To  their  broad  breasts;  the  ship  with  fury  flew. 
The  queen,  recover'd,  rears  her  humid  eyes,  6-15 

And  first  her  husband  on  the  poop  espies, 
Shaking  his  hand  at  distance  on  the  main  ; 
Sbe  took  the  sign,  and  shook  her  hand  again. 
Still  as  the  ground  recedes,  contracts  her  view 
With  sharpen 'd  sight,  till  she  no  longer  knew        650 
The  much-lov'd  face;  that  comfort  lost  supplies 
With  less,  and  with  the  galley  feeds  her  eyes; 
The  galley  borne  from  view  by  rising  gales, 
She  follow'd  with  ber  sight  the  flying  sails: 

BOOK  XI.  2G1 

When  e'en  the  flying  sails  were  seen  no  more,       655 
Forsaken  of  all  sight  she  left  the  shore. 

Then  on  her  bridal  bed  her  body  throws, 
And  sought  in  sleep  her  wearied  eyes  to  .close: 
Her  husband's  pillow,  and  the  widow'd  part 
Which  once  he  press'd,  renew'd  the  former  smart.  660 

And  now  a  breeze  from  shore  began  to  blow, 
The  sailors  ship  their  oars,  and  cease  to  row ; 
Then  hoist  their  yards  a-trip,  and  all  their  sails 
Let  fall,  to  court  the  wind,  and  catch  the  gales : 
By  this  the  vessel  half  her  course  had  run,  605 

And  as  much  rested  till  the  rising  sun ; 
Both  shores  were  lost  to  sight,  when,  at  the  close 
Of  day,  a  stiffer  gale  at  east  arose : 
The  sea  grew  white,  the  rolling  waves  from  far, 
like  heralds,  first  denounce  the  wat'ry  war.  670 

This  seen,  the  master  soon  began  to  cry : 
Strike,  strike  the  top-sail;  let  the  main-sheet  fly, 
And  furl  your  sails.    The  winds  repel  the  sound, 
And  in  the  speaker's  mouth  the  speech  is  drown'd. 
Yet  of  their  own  accord,  as  danger  taught,  675 

Each  in  his  way  officiously  they  wrought ; 
Some  stow  their  oars,  or  stop  the  leaky  sides; 
Another  bolder  yet,  the  yard  bestrides, 
And  folds  the  sails ;  a  fourth  with  labour  laves 
Th'  intruding  seas,  and  waves  ejects  on  waves.      680 

In  this  confusion  while  their  work  they  ply, 
The  winds  augment  the  winter  of  the  sky, 
And  wage  intestine  wars;  the  suff 'ring  seas 
Are  tost  and  mingled  as  their  tyrants  please. 
The  master  would  command,  but  in  despair  685 

Of  safety,  stands  amaz'd  with  stupid  care  ; 
Nor  what  to  bid  or  what  forbid  he  knows; 
Th'  ungovern'd  tempest  to  such  fury  grows; 
Vain  is  his  force,  and  vainer  is  his  skill ; 
With  such  a  concourse  comes  the  flood  of  ill;  690 

The  cries  of  men  are  mix'd  with  rattling  shrouds ; 
Seas  dash  on  seas,  and  clouds  encounter  clouds  : 
At  once  from  east  to  west,  from  pole  to  pole, 
The  forky  lightnings  flash,  the  roaring  thunders  roll. 

Now  waves  on  waves  ascending  scale  the  skies,  605 
And  in  the  fires  above  the  water  fries; 


When  yellow  sands  are  sifted  from  below, 

The  glitt'ring  billows  give  a  golden  show; 

And  when  the  fouler  bottom  spews  the  black, 

The  Stygian  die  the  tainted  waters  take:  700 

Then  frothy  whi  te  appear  the  flatted  seas, 

And  change  their  colours,  changing  their  disease. 

Like  various  fits  the  Trachin  vessel  finds, 

And  now  sublime  she  rides  upon  the  winds; 

As  from  a  lofty  summit  looks  from  high,  705 

And  from  the  clouds  beholds  the  nether  sky; 

Now  from  the  depth  of  hell  they  lift  their  sight: 

And  at  a  distance  see  superior  light: 

The  lashing  billows  make  a  loud  report, 

And  beat  her  sides,  as  batt'ring-rams  a  fort:  710 

Or  as  a  lion  bounding  in  his  way, 

With  force  augmented,  bears  against  his  prey 

Sidelong  to  seize ;  or,  unappall'd  with  fear, 

Springs  on  the  toils,  and  rushes  on  the  spear : 

So  seas  impell'd  by  winds,  with  added  pow'r  715 

Assault  the  sides  and  o'er  the  hatches  tow'r. 

The  planks  (their  pitchy  cov'ring  wash'd  away) 
Now  yield ;  and  now  a  yawning  breach  display : 
The  roaring  waters,  with  a  hostile  tide, 
Rush  through  the  ruins  of  her  gaping  side ;  720 

Meantime  in  sheets  of  rain  the  sky  descends, 
And  ocean  swell'd  with  waters  upwards  tends ; 
One  rising,  falling  one,  the  heav'ns  and  sea 
Meet  at  their  confines  in  the  middle  way : 
The  sails  are  drunk  with  show'rs,  and  drop  witb  rain, 
Sweet  waters  mingle  with  the  briny  main.  726 

No  star  appears  to  lend  his  friendly  light; 
Darkness  and  tempest  make  a  double  night ; 
But  flashing  fires  disclose  the  deep  by  turns, 
And  while  the  lightnings  blaze,  the  water  burns.  730 

Now  all  the  waves  their  scatter'd  force  unite, 
And  as  a  soldier  foremost  in  the  fight, 
Makes  way  for  others,  and  an  host  alone 
Still  presses  on,  and,  urging,  gains  the  town ; 
So  while  th'  invading  billows  come  a-breast,  735 

The  hero  tenth  advanc'd  before  the  rest, 
Sweeps  all  before  him  with  impetuous  sway, 
And  from  the  walls  descends  upon  the  prey; 

BOOK  XI.  293 

Part  following  enter,  part  remain  without, 
With  envy  hear  their  fellows'  conqu'ring  shout,     740 
And  mount  on  others'  backs,  in  hopes  to  share 
The  city,  thus  become  the  seat  of  war. 

A  universal  crowd  resounds  aloud, 
The  sailors  run  in  heaps,  a  helpless  crowd ; 
Art  fails,  and  courage  falls,  no  succour  near;  745 

As  many  waves,  as  many  deaths  appear. 
One  weeps,  and  yet  despairs  of  late  relief; 
One  cannot  weep,  his  fears  congeal  his  grief, 
But  stupid,  with  dry  eyes  expects  his  fate : 
One,  with  loud  shrieks,  laments  his  lost  estate,       750 
And  calls  those  happy  whom  their  fun'rals  wait. 
This  wretch  with  pray'rs  and  vows  the  gods  implores, 
And  e'en  the  skies,  he  cannot  see,  adores. 
That  other  on  his  friends,  his  thoughts  bestows, 
His  careful  father,  and  his  faithful  spouse.  755 

The  covetous  worldling  in  his  anxious  mind, 
Thinks  only  on  the  wealth  he  left  behind. 

All  Ceyx  his  Alcyone  employs, 
For  her  he  grieves,  yet  in  her  absence  joys, 
His  wife  he  wishes,  and  would  still  be  near,  760 

Nor  her  with  him,  but  wishes  him  with  her: 
Now  with  last  looks  he  seeks  his  native  shore, 
Which  fate  has  destin'd  him  to  see  no  more ; 
He  sought,  but  in  the  dark,  tempestuous  night, 
He  knew  not  whither  to  direct  his  sight.  765 

So  whirl  the  seas,  such  darkness  blinds  the  sky, 
That  the  black  night  receives  a  deeper  die. 

The  giddy  ship  ran  round;  the  tempest  tore 
Her  mast,  and  overboard  the  rudder  bore ; 
One  billow  mounts,  and,  with  a  scornful  brow.      770 
Proud  of  her  conquest  gain 'd,  insults  the  waves  below ; 
Nor  lighter  falls,  than  if  some  giant  tore 
Pindus  and  Athos  with  the  freight  they  bore, 
And  toss'd  on  seas,  prest  with  the  pond'rous  blow, 
Down  sinks  the  ship  within  the  abyss  below.  775 

Down  with  the  vessel  sink  into  the  main ; 
The  many,  never  more  to  rise  again. 
Some  few,  on  scatter'd  planks,  with  fruitless  care 
Lay  hold  and  swim ;  but  while  they  swim,  despair. 

E'en  he  who  late  a  sceptre  did  command,  780 


Now  grasps  a  floating  fragment  in  his  hand; 

And  while  he  struggles  on  the  stormy  main, 

Invokes  his  father,  and  his  wife's  in  vain. 

But  yet  his  consort  is  his  greatest  care ; 

Alcyone  he  names  amidst  his  pray'r ;  785 

Names  as  a  charm  against  the  waves  and  wind, 

Most  in  his  mouth,  and  ever  in  his  mind. 

Tir'd  with  his  toil,  all  hopes  of  safety  past, 

From  prayers  to  wishes  he  descends  at  last ; 

That  his  dead  body,  wafted  to  the  sands,  790 

Might  have  its  burial  from  her  friendly  hands. 

As  oft  as  he  can  catch  a  gulp  of  air, 

And  peep  above  the  seas,  he  names  the  fair; 

And  e'en  when  plung'd  beneath,  on  her  he  raves, 

Murm'ring  Alcyone  beneath  the  waves :  795 

At  last  a  falling  billow  stops  his  breath, 

Breaks  o'er  his  head,  and  whelms  him  underneath. 

Bright  Lucifer,  unlike  himself,  appears 

That  night,  his  heav'nly  form  obscur'd  with  tears  : 

And  since  he  was  forbid  to  leave  the  skies,  800 

He  muffled  with  a  cloud  his  mourn  fui  eyes. 

Meantime  Alcyone  (his  fate  unknown) 
Computes  how  many  nights  he  had  been  gone; 
Observes  the  waning  moon  with  hourly  view, 
Numbers  her  age,  and  wishes  for  a  new;  805 

Against  the  promis'd  time  provides  with  care, 
And  hastens  in  the  woof  the  robes  he  was  to  wear  : 
And  for  herself  employs  another  loom, 
New  drest  to  meet  her  lord  returning  home, 
Flatt'ring  her  heart  with  joys  that  never  were  to  come: 
She  fum'd  the  temples  with  an  od'rous  flame,         811 
And  oft  before  the  sacred  altars  came, 
To  pray  for  him  who  was  an  empty  name. 
All  pow'rs  implor'd,  but  far  above  the  rest, 
To  Juno  she  her  pious  vows  address'd*  815 

Her  much-lov'd  lord  from  perils  to  p  rotect, 
And  safe  o'er  seas  his  voyage  to  direct : 
Then  pray'd,  that  she  might  still  possess  his  heart, 
And  no  pretending  rival  share  a  part; 
This  last  petition  heard  of  all  her  pray'r,  820 

The  rest,  dispers'd  by  winds,  were  lo3t  in  air. 

But  she,  the  goddess  of  the  nuptial  bed, 

BOOK  XI.  295 

Tir'd  with  her  vain  devotions  for  the  dead, 

Resolv'd  the  tainted  hand  should  he  repell'd, 

Which  incense  offer'd,  and  her  altar  held  :  825 

Then  Iris  thus  bespoke;  Thou  faithful  maid, 

By  whom  thy  queen's  commands  are  well  convey'd, 

Haste  to  the  house  of  Sleep,  and  bid  the  god 

Who  rules  the  night  by  visions  with  a  nod, 

Prepare  a  dream,  in  figure  and  in  form  830 

Resembling  him,  who  perish'd  in  the  storm; 

This  form  before  Alcyone  present, 

To  make  her  certain  of  the  sad  event. 

Indu'd  with  robes  of  various  hue  she  flies,  834 

And  flying  draws  an  arch  (a  segment  of  the  skies) : 
Then  leaves  her  bending  bow,  and  from  the  steep 
Descends  to  search  the  silent  house  of  Sleep. 

Near  the  Cymmerians,  in  his  dark  abode, 
Deep  in  a  cavern,  dwells  the  drowsy  god; 
Whose  gloomy  mansion  nor  the  rising  sun,  840 

Nor  setting,  visits,  nor  the  lightsome  noon  ; 
But  lazy  vapours  round  the  region  fly, 
Perpetual  twilight,  and  a  doubtful  sky : 
No  crowing  cock  does  there  his  wings  display, 
Nor  with  his  horny  bill  provoke  the  day ;  845 

Nor  watchful  dogs,  nor  the  more  wakeful  geese, 
Disturb,  with  nightly  noise,  the  sacred  peace  ; 
Nor  beast  of  nature,  nor  the  tame  are  nigh, 
Nor  trees  with  tempests  rock'd,  nor  human  cry ; 
But  safe  Repose,  without  an  air  of  breath,  850 

Dwells  here,  and  a  dumb  quiet  next  to  death. 

An  arm  of  Lethe  with  a  gentle  flow, 
Arising  upwards  from  the  rock  below, 
The  palace  moats,  and  o'er  the  pebbles  creeps, 
And  with  soft  murmurs  calls  the  coming  sleeps.     855 
Around  its  entry  nodding  poppies  grow, 
And  all  cool  simples  that  sweet  rest  bestow; 
Night  from  the  plants  their  sleepy  virtue  drains, 
And  passing,  sheds  it  on  the  silent  plains : 
No  door  there  was  th'  unguarded  house  to  keep,    860 
On  creaking  hinges  turn'd,  to  break  his  sleep. 

But  in  the  gloomy  court  was  rais'd  a  bed, 
Stuff'd  with  black  plumes,  and  on  an  ebon  stead; 


Black  was  the  cov'ring  too  where  lay  the  god, 
And  slept  supine,  his  limbs  display 'd  abroad:  865 

About  his  head  fantastic  visions  fly, 
Which  various  images  of  things  supply, 
And  mock  their  forms  ;  the  leaves  on  trees  not  more, 
Nor  bearded  ears  in  fields,  nor  sands  upon  the  shore. 
The  virgin  ent'ring  bright,  indulg'd  the  day         870 
To  the  brown  cave,  and  brush'd  the  dreams  away  : 
The  god  disturb'd  with  this  new  glare  of  light 
Cast  sudden  on  his  face,  unseal'd  his  sight. 
And  rais'd  his  tardy  head,  which  sunk  again, 
And  sinking,  on  his  bosom  knock'd  his  chin ;  875 

At  length  shook  off  himself,  and  ask'd  the  dame 
(And  asking  yawn'd),  for  what  intent  she  came. 

To  whom  the  goddess  thus :  O  sacred  Rest, 
Sweet  pleasing  Sleep,  of  all  the  pow'rs  the  best! 
O  peace  of  mind,  repairer  of  decay,  8S0 

Whose  balms  renew  the  limbs  to  labours  of  the  day, 
Care  shuns  thy  soft  approach,  and  sullen  flies  away! 
Adorn  a  dream,  expressing  human  form, 
The  shape  of  him  who  suffer'd  in  the  storm, 
And  send  it  flitting  to  the  Trachin  court,  885 

The  wreck  of  wretched  Ceyx  to  report: 
Before  his  queen  bid  the  pale  spectre  stand, 
Who  begs  a  vain  relief  at  Juno's  hand. 
She  said,  and  scarce  awake  her  eyes  could  keep, 
Unable  to  support  the  fume3  of  sleep;  890 

But  fled,  returning  by  the  way  she  went, 
And  swerv'd  along  her  bow  with  swift  ascent. 

The  god,  uneasy  till  he  slept  again, 
Resolv'd  at  once  to  rid  himself  of  pain  ; 
And,  though  against  his  custom,  call'd  aloud,  895 

Exciting  Morpheus  from  the  sleepy  crowd  : 
Morpheus,  of  all  his  numerous  train,  express'd 
The  shape  of  man,  and  imitated  best : 
The  walk,  the  words,  the  gesture  could  supply, 
The  habit  mimic,  and  the  mien  bely ;  900 

Plays  well,  but  all  his  action  is  confm'd, 
Extending  not  beyond  our  human  kind. 
Another,  birds,  and  beasts,  and  dragons  ape3, 
And  dreadful  images,  and  monster  shapes: 
This  demon,  Icelos,  in  heav'n's  high  hall,  905 

BOOK  XI.  297 

The  gods  have  nam'd;  but  men  Phobetor  call. 

A  third  is  Phantasus,  whose  actions  roll 

On  meaner  thoughts,  and  things  devoid  of  soul; 

Earth,  fruits,  and  flow'rs,  he  represents  in  dreams, 

And  solid  rocks  remov'd,  and  running  streams.      910 

These  three  to  kings  and  chiefs  their  scenes  display, 

The  rest  before  th'  ignoble  commons  play. 

Of  these  the  chosen  Morpheus  is  dispatch'd  ; 

Which  done,  the  lazy  monarch,  overwatch'd, 

Down  from  his  propping  elbow  drops  his  head,       915 

Dissolv'd  in  sleep,  and  shrinks  within  his  bed. 

Darkling  the  demon  glides,  for  flight  prepar'd, 
So  soft,  that  scarce  his  fanning  wings  are  heard. 
To  Trachin,  swift  as  thought,  the  flitting  3hade, 
Through  air  his  momentary  journey  made  ;  920 

Then  lays  aside  the  steerage  of  his  wings, 
Forsakes  his  proper  form,  assumes  the  king's ; 
And  pale  as  death,  despoil'd  of  his  array, 
Into  the  queen's  apartment  takes  his  way, 
And  stands  before  the  bed  at  dawn  of  day;  925 

Unmov'd  his  eyes  and  wet  his  beard  appears ; 
And  shedding  vain,  but  seeming  real  tears; 
The  briny  water  dropping  from  his  hairs. 
Then  staring  on  her  with  a  ghastly  look, 
And  hollow  voice,  he  thus  the  queen  bespoke:        930 

Know'st  thou  not  me?  nor  yet,  unhappy  wife  1 
Or  are  my  features  perish'd  with  my  life? 
Look  once  again,  and  for  thy  husband  lost, 
Lo  all  that's  left  of  him,  thy  husband's  ghost ! 
Thy  vows  for  my  return  were  all  in  vain,  935 

The  stormy  south  o'er  took  us  in  the  main, 
And  never  shalt  thou  see  thy  living  lord  again. 
Bear  witness,  heav'n,  I  call'd  on  thee  in  death, 
And  while  I  call'd,  a  billow  stopp'd  my  breath. 
Think  not,  that  flying  fame  reports  my  fate :  940 

I  present,  I  appear,  and  my  own  wreck  relate. 
Rise,  wretched  widow,  rise  ;  nor  undeplor'd 
Permit  my  soul  to  pass  the  Stygian  ford  ; 
But  rise,  prepar'd  in  black,  to  mourn  thy  perish'd  lord. 

Thus  said  the  player-god ;  and  adding  art  945 

Of  voice,  of  gesture,  so  perform'd  his  part, 
She  thought  (so  like  her  love  the  shade  appears), 
0  2 


That  Ceyx  spake  the  words,  and  Ceyx  shed  the  tears 
She  groan'd,  her  inward  soul  with  grief  opprest,     949 
She  sigh'd,  she  wept,  and,  sleeping,  beat  her  breast ; 
Then  stretch'd  her  arms  t' embrace  his  body  bare; 
Her  clasping  arms  enclose  but  empty  air: 
At  this  not  yet  awake,  she  cry'd,  0,  stay; 
One  is  our  fate,  and  common  is  our  way ! 

So  dreadful  was  the  dream,  so  loud  she  spoke,    955 
That  starting  sudden  up,  the  slumber  broke : 
Then  cast  her  eyes  around,  in  hope  to  view 
Her  vanish'd  lord,  and  find  the  vision  true : 
For  now  the  maids  who  waited  her  commands, 
Ran  in  with  lighted  tapers  in  their  hands.  960 

Tir'd  with  the  search,  nor  finding  what  she  seeks, 
With  cruel  blows  she  pounds  her  blubber'd  cheeks ; 
Then  from  her  beaten  breast  the  linen  tear, 
And  cut  the  golden  caul  that  bound  her  hair. 
Her  nurse  demands  the  cause ;  with  louder  cries    965 
She  prosecutes  her  griefs,  and  thus  replies : 

No  more  Alcyone ;  she  suffer'd  death 
With  her  lov'd  lord,  when  Ceyx  lost  his  breath : 
No  flatt'ry,  no  false  comfort,  give  me  none, 
My  shipwreck'd  Ceyx  is  for  ever  gone :  970 

I  saw,  I  saw  him  manifest  in  view, 
His  voice,  his  figure,  and  his  gestures  knew : 
His  lustre  lost,  and  ev'ry  living  grace, 
Yet  I  retain'd  the  features  of  his  face ;  974 

Though  with  pale  cheeks,  wet  beard,  and  dropping 
None  but  my  Ceyx  could  appear  so  fair :  [hair 

I  would  have  strain'd  him  with  a  strict  embrace, 
But  through  my  arms  he  slipt,  and  vanish'd  from  the 

place : 
There,  e'en  just  there  he  stood; — and  as  she  spoke, 
Where  last  the  spectre  was  she  cast  her  look  :         980 
Fain  would  she  hope,  and  gaz'd  upon  the  ground, 
If  any  printed  footsteps  might  be  found. 

Then  sigh'd,  and  said :  This  I  too  well  foreknew, 
And  my  prophetic  fears  presag'd  too  true : 
'Twas  what  I  begg'd,  when  with  a  bleeding  heart  995 
I  took  my  leave,  and  suffer'd  thee  to  part  : 
Or  I  to  go  along,  or  thou  to  stay, 
Never,  ah  never  to  divide  our  way! 

BOOK  XI.  299 

Happier  for  me,  that  all  our  hours  assign'd  989 

Together  we  had  liv'd ;  e'en  not  in  death  disjoin'd ! 

So  had  my  Ceyx  still  been  living  here, 

Or  with  my  Ceyx  I  had  perish'd  there  : 

Now  I  die  absent  in  the  vast  profound ; 

And  me  without  myself  the  seas  have  drown'd  : 

The  storms  are  not  so  cruel ;  should  I  strive  995 

To  lengthen  life,  and  such  a  grief  survive? 

But  neither  will  I  strive,  nor  wretched  thee 

In  death  forsake,  but  keep  thee  company. 

If  not  one  common  sepulchre  contains 

Our  bodies,  or  one  urn  our  last  remains,  1000 

Yet  Ceyx  and  Alcyone  shall  join, 

Their  names  remember'd  in  one  common  line. 

No  farther  voice  her  mighty  grief  affords, 
For  sighs  came  rushing  in  between  her  words,      1004 
And  stopp'd  her  tongue :  but  what  her  tongue  deny'd, 
Soft  tears  and  groans,  and  dumb  complaints  supply'd. 

'Twas  morning :  to  the  port  she  takes  her  way, 
And  stands  upon  the  margin  of  the  sea : 
That  place,  that  very  spot  of  ground  she  sought, 
Or  thither  by  her  destiny  was  brought,  1010 

Where  last  he  stood:  and  while  she  sadly  said, 
'Twas  here  he  left  me,  ling'ring  here  delay'd 
His  parting  kiss,  and  there  his  anchors  weigh'd. 

Thus  speaking,  while  her  thoughts  past  actions  trace, 
And  call  to  mind,  admonish'd  by  the  place,  1015 

Sharp  at  her  utmost  ken  she  cast  her  eyes, 
And  somewhat  floating  from  afar  descries : 
It  seem'd  a  corse  a-drift  to  distant  sight, 
But  at  a  distance  who  could  judge  aright? 
It  wafted  nearer  yet,  and  then  she  knew,  1020 

That  what  before  she  but  surmis'd,  was  true : 
A  corse  it  was,  but  whose,  it  was  unknown, 
Yet  mov'd  howe'er,  she  made  the  case  her  own : 
Took  the  bad  omen  of  a  shipwreck'd  man, 
As  for  a  stranger  wept,  and  thus  began :  1025 

Poor  wretch,  on  stormy  seas  to  lose  thy  life, 
Unhappy  thou,  but  more  thy  widow'd  wife! — 
At  this  she  paus'd;  for  now  the  flowing  tide 
Had  brought  the  body  nearer  to  the  side : 
Tho  mere  she  looks,  the  more  her  fears  increase,  1030 


At  nearer  sight;  and  she  herself  the  less: 

Now  driv'n  ashore,  and  at  her  feet  it  lies, 

She  knows  too  much  in  knowing  whom  she  sees: 

Her  husband's  corse  !  at  this  she  loudly  shrieks, 

'Tis  he,  'tis  he  !  she  cries,  and  tears  her  cheeks,    1035 

Her  hair,  and  vest;  and  stooping  to  the  sands, 

About  his  neck  she  cast  her  trembling  hands. 

And  is  it  thus,  0  dearer  than  my  life, 
Thus,  thus  return 'st  thou  to  thy  longing  wife? — 
She  said,  and  to  the  neighb'ring  mole  she  strode  1040 
(Rais'd  there  to  break  th'  incursions  of  the  flood). 

Headlong  from  thence  to  plunge  herself  she  springs, 
But  shoots  along,  supported  on  her  wings; 
A  bird  new-made,  about  the  banks  she  plies, 
Not  far  from  shore,  and  short  excursions  tries;      1045 
Nor  seeks  in  air  her  humble  flight  to  raise, 
Content  to  skim  the  surface  of  the  seas : 
Her  bill,  though  slender,  sends  a  creaking  noise, 
And  imitates  a  lamentable  voice. 
Now  lighting  where  the  bloodless  body  lies,  1050 

She  with  a  fun'ral  note  renews  her  cries  : 
At  all  her  stretch,  her  little  wings  she  spread, 
And  with  her  feather'd  arms  embrac.'d  the  dead, 
Then  flick'ring  to  his  pallid  lips  she  strove 
To  print  a  kiss,  the  last  essay  of  love.  1055 

Whether  the  vital  touch  reviv'd  the  dead, 
Or  that  the  moving  waters  rais'd  his  head 
To  meet  the  kiss,  the  vulgar  doubt  alone  ; 
For  sure  a  present  miracle  was  shewn. 
The  gods  their  shapes  to  winter-birds  translate,    1060 
But  both  obnoxious  to  their  former  fate. 
Their  conjugal  affection  still  is  tied, 
And  still  the  mournful  race  is  multiplied : 
They  bill,  they  tread;  Alcyone  compress'd, 
Seven  days  sits  brooding  on  her  floating  nest;       1065 
A  wintry  queen  :  her  sire  at  length  is  kind, 
Calms  ev'ry  storm,  and  hushes  ev'ry  wind; 
Prepares  his  empire  for  his  daughter's  ease,       • 
And  for  his  hatching  nephews  smooths  the  seas. 

These  some  old  man  sees  wanton  in  the  air,      1070 
And  praises  the  unhappy  constant  pair, 
Then  to  his  friend  the  long-neck'd  corm'rant  shews, 

BOOK  XI.  301 

The  former  tale  reviving  other's  woes  : 

That  sable  bird  (he  cries),  which  cuts  the  flood, 

With  slender  legs,  was  once  of  royal  blood;  1075 

His  ancestors  from  mighty  Tros  proceed, 

The  brave  Labmedon,  and  Ganymede 

(Whose  beauty  tempted  Jove  to  steal  the  boy), 

And  Priam,  hapless  prince  !  who  fell  with  Troy. 

Himself  was  Hector's  brother,  and  (had  fate  10SO 

But  given  his  hopeful  youth  a  longer  date) 

Perhaps  had  rivall'd  warlike  Hector's  worth, 

Though  on  the  mother's  side  of  meaner  birth. 

Fair  Alyxothoe,  a  country  maid, 

Bare  iEsacus  by  stealth  in  Ida's  shade.  1085 

He  fled  the  noisy  town,  and  pompous  court, 

Lov'd  the  lone  hills,  and  simple  rural  sport, 

And  seldom  to  the  city  would  resort. 

Yet  he  no  rustic  clownishness  profess'd, 

Nor  was  soft  love  a  stranger  to  his  breast :  1090 

The  youth  had  long  the  nymph  Hesperie  woo'd, 

Oft  through  the  thicket,  or  the  mead  pursu'd : 

Her  haply  on  her  father's  bank  he  spy'd 

While  fearless  she  her  silver  tresses  dry'd; 

Away  she  fled:  not  stags,  with  half  such  speed,    1095 

Before  the  prowling  wolf  scud  o'er  the  mead; 

Not  ducks,  when  they  the  safer  flood  forsake, 

Pursu'd  by  hawks,  so  swift  regain  the  lake. 

As  fast  she  follow'd  in  the  hot  career; 

Desire  the  lover  wing'd,  the  virgin  fear.  1100 

A  snake  unseen  now  pierc'd  her  heedless  foot : 

Quick  through  the  veins  the  venom'd  juices  shoot: 

She  fell,  and  'scap'd  by  death  his  fierce  pursuit; 

Her  lifeless  body,  frighted,  be  embrac'd, 

And  cry'd,  Not  this  I  dreaded,  but  thy  haste :        1105 

0»  had  my  love  been  less,  or  less  thy  fear! 

The  victory,  thus  bought,  is  far  too  dear. 

Accursed  snake !  yet  I  more  curs'd  than  he! 

He  gave  the  wound,  the  cause  was  giv'n  by  me. 

Yet  none  shall  say  that  unreveng'd  you  died.        1110 

He  spoke ;  then  climb'd  a  cliffs  e'erhanging  side, 

And,  resolute,  leap'd  on  the  foaming  tide. 

Tethys  receiv'd  him  gently  on  the  wave  : 

The  death  he  sought  deny'd,  and  feathers  gave. 


Debarr'd  the  surest  remedy  of  grief,  1115 

And  forc'd  to  live,  he  curs'd  th'  unask'd  relief. 

Then  on  his  airy  pinions  upwards  flies, 

And  at  a  second  fall  successless  tries ; 

The  downy  plume  a  quick  descent  denies. 

Enrag'd,  he  often  dives  beneath  the  wave,  1120 

And  there  in  vain  expects  to  find  a  grave. 

His  ceaseless  sorrow  for  th'  unhappy  maid, 

Meager'd  his  look,  and  on  his  spirits  prey'd, 

Still  near  the  sounding  deep  he  lives;  his  name 

From  frequent  diving  and  emerging  came.  1125 



The  Trojan  war.  The  house  of  fame.  The  story  of  Cygmis. 
The  story  of  Ceeneus.  The  skirmish  between  the  Centaurs  and 
Lapithites.  The  story  of  Cyllarus  and  Hilonome.  Caeneus 
transformed  to  an  eagle.  The  fate  of  Periclymenos.  The 
death  of  Achilles. 

Priam,  to  whom  the  story  was  unknown, 

As  dead,  deplor'd  his  metamorphos'd  son  : 

A  cenotaph  his  name  and  title  kept, 

And  Hector  round  the  tomb  with  all  his  brothers  wept. 

This  pious  office  Paris  did  not  share,  5 

Absent  alone,  and  author  of  the  war, 
Which  for  the  Spartan  queen,  the  Grecians  drew 
T'  avenge  the  rape;  and  Asia  to  subdue. 

A  thousand  ships  were  mann'd  to  sail  the  sea : 
Nor  had  their  just  resentments  found  delay,  10 

Had  not  the  winds  and  waves  oppos'd  their  way. 
At  Aulis,  with  united  pow'rs  they  meet, 
But  there  cross-winds  or  calms  detain'd  the  fleet. 
Now  while  they  raise  an  altar  on  the  shore, 
And  Jove  with  solemn  sacrifice  adore,  15 

A  boding  sign  the  priests  and  people  see: 
A  snake  of  size  immense  ascends  a  tree, 
And,  in  the  leafy  summit  spy'd  a  nest, 
Which  o'er  her  callow  young,  a  sparrow  press'd. 
Eight  were  the  birds  unfledg'd ;  their  mother  flew,  20 
And  hover'd  round  her  care ;  but  still  in  view : 

BOOK  XII.  303 

Till  the  fierce  reptile  first  devour' d  the  brood; 

Then  seizM  the  flutt'ring  dam,  and  drank  her  blood. 

This  dire  ostent  the  fearful  people  view ; 

Calchas  alone,  by  Phoebus  taught,  foreknew  25 

What  heav'n  decreed ;  and  with  a  smiling  glance, 

Thus  gratulates  to  Greece  her  happy  chance : 

O  Argives,  we  shall  conquer :  Troy  is  ours, 

But  long  delays  shall  first  afflict  our  pow'rs: 

Nine  years  of  labour,  the  nine  birds  portend ;  30 

The  tenth  shall  in  the  town's  destruction  end. 

The  serpent,  who  his  maw  obscene  had  fill'd, 
The  branches  in  his  curl'd  embraces  held : 
But,  as  in  spires  he  stood,  he  turn'd  to  stone: 
The  stony  snake  retain'd  the  figure  still  his  own.     35 
Yet,  not  for  this,  the  wind-bound  navy  weigh'd; 
Slack  were  their  sails;  and  Neptune  disobey'd. 
Some  thought  him  loth  the  town  should  be  destroy 'd, 
Whose  building  had  his  hands  divine  employ'd; 
Not  so  the  seer ;  who  knew,  and  known  foreshew'd, 
The  virgin  Phoebe,  with  a  virgin's  blood,  41 

Must  first  be  reconcil'd:  the  common  cause 
Prevail'd ;  and  pity  yielding  to  the  laws, 
Fair  Iphigenia,  the  devoted  maid, 
Was  by  the  weeping  priests,  in  linen  robes  array'd; 
All  mourn  her  fate:  but  no  relief  appear 'd,  46 

The  royal  victim  bound,  the  knife  already  rear'd : 
When  that  offended  pow'r,  who  caus'd  their  woe, 
Relenting  ceas'd  her  wrath,  and  stopp'd  the  coming 
A  mist  before  the  ministers  she  cast,  [blow. 

And  in  the  virgin's  room  a  hind  she  plac'd.  51 

The  oblation  slain,  and  Phoebe  reconcil'd, 
The  storm  was  hush'd,  and  dimpled  ocean  smil'd: 
A  favourable  gale  arose  from  shore, 
Which  to  the  port  desir'd,  the  Grecian  galleys  bore. 

Full  in  the  midst  of  this  created  space,  56 

Betwixt  heav'n,  earth,  and  skies,  there  stands  a  place, 
Confining  on  all  three,  with  triple  bound; 
Whence  all  things,  though  remote,  are  view'd  around, 
And  thither  bring  their  undulating  sound.  60 

The  palace  of  loud  Fame,  her  seat  of  pow'r, 
Plac'd  on  the  summit  of  a  lofty  tow'r ; 


A  thousand  winding  entries  long  and  wide, 

Receive  of  fresh  reports  a  flowing  tide. 

A  thousand  crannies  in  the  walls  are  made;  65 

Nor  gate,  nor  bars,  exclude  the  busy  trade. 

'Tis  built  of  brass,  the  better  to  diffuse 

The  spreading  sounds,  and  multiply  the  news; 

Where  echoes  in  repeated  echoes  play  : 

A  mart  for  ever  full,  and  open  night  and  day.  70 

Nor  silence  is  within,  nor  voice  express, 

But  a  deaf  noise  of  sounds  that  never  cease. 

Confus'd,  and  chiding  like  the  hollow  roar 

Of  tides,  receding  from  th'  insulted  shore  ; 

Or  like  the  broken  thunder  heard  from  far,  75 

When  Jove  at  distance  drives  the  rolling  war. 

The  courts  are  fill'd  with  a  tumultuous  din 

Of  crowds  or  issuing  forth,  or  ent'ring  in  : 

A  thoroughfare  of  news  :  Where  some  devise 

Things  never  heard,  some  mingle  truth  with  lies;    80 

The  troubled  air  with  empty  sounds  they  beat, 

Intent  to  hear,  and  eager  to  repeat. 

Error  sits  brooding  there,  with  added  train 

Of  vain  credulity,  and  joys  as  vain ; 

Suspicion,  with  sedition  join'd,  are  near,  85 

And  rumours  rais'd  ;  and  murmurs  mix'd,  and  panic 

Fame  sits  aloft,  and  sees  the  subject  ground ;       [fear. 

And  seas  about,  and  skies  above ;  inqxiiring  all  around. 

The  goddess  gives  th'  alarm ;  and  soon  is  known 
The  Grecian  fleet,  descending  on  the  town.  90 

Fix'd  on  defence,  the  Trojans  are  not  slow 
To  guard  their  shore  from  an  expected  foe. 
They  meet  in  hght :  By  Hector's  fatal  hand 
Protesilaiis  falls,  and  bites  the  strand ; 
Which  with  expense  of  blood  the  Grecians  won  :     95 
And  prov'd  the  strength  unknown  of  Priam's  son  ; 
And  to  their  cost  the  Trojan  leaders  felt 
The  Grecian  heroes  ;  and  what  deaths  they  dealt. 

From  these  first  onsets,  the  Sigaean  shore 
Was  strew'd  with  carcases,  and  stain'd  with  gore  : 
Neptunian  Cygnus  troops  of  Greeks  had  slain :       101 
Achilles,  in  his  car,  had  scour'd  the  plain, 
And  clear'd  the  Trojan  ranks  :  Where'er  he  fought, 

BOOK  XII.  305 

Cygnus,  or  Hector,  through  the  fields  he  sought ; 

Cygnus  be  found:  On  him  his  force  essay'd:  105 

For  Hector  was  to  the  tenth  year  delay'd. 

His  white-man'd  steeds,  that  bow'd  beneath  the  yoke, 

He  cheer'd  to  courage  with  a  gentle  stroke : 

Then  urg'd  his  fiery  chariot  on  the  foe  ; 

And  rising  shook  his  lance  ;  in  act  to  throw.  110 

But  first  he  cry'd,  O  youth,  be  proud  to  bear 

Thy  death  ennobled  by  Pelides'  spear. 

The  lance  pursu'd  the  voice,  without  delay, 

Nor  did  the  whizzing  weapon  miss  the  way  ; 

But  pierc'd  bis  cuirass,  with  such  fury  sent,  115 

And  sign'd  his  bosom  with  a  purple  dint. 

At  this  the  seed  of  Neptune :  Goddess-born, 

For  ornament,  not  use,  these  arms  are  worn; 

This  helm,  and  heavy  buckler,  I  can  spare  ; 

As  only  decorations  of  the  war:  120 

So  Mars  is  arm'd  for  glory,  not  for  need. 

'Tis  somewhat  more  from  Neptune  to  proceed, 

Than  from  a  daughter  of  the  sea  to  spring: 

Thy  sire  is  mortal;  mine  is  ocean's  king. 

Secure  of  death,  I  should  contemn  thy  dart,  125 

Though  naked ;  and  impassible  depart : 

He  said,  and  threw;  the  trembling  weapon  pass'd 

Through  nine  bull-hides,  each  under  other  plac'd, 

On  his  broad  shield;  and  stuck  within  the  last. 

Achilles  wren ch'd  it  out ;  and  sent  again  130 

The  hostile  gift ;  the  hostile  gift  was  vain  : 

He  try'd  a  third,  a  tough,  well-chosen  spear; 

Th'  inviolable  body  stood  sincere, 

Though  Cygnus  then  did  no  defence  provide, 

But  scornful  ofFer'd  his  unshielded  side.  135 

Not  otherwise  th'  impatient  hero  far'd, 
Than  as  a  bull  encompass'd  with  a  guard 
Amid  the  circus  roars,  provok'd  from  far 
By  sight  of  scarlet,  and  a  sanguine  war: 
They  quit  their  ground,  his  bending  horns  elude  ;  140 
In  vain  pursuing,  and  in  vain  pursu'd. 

Before  to  farther  fight  he  would  advance, 
He  stood  consid'ring,  and  survey'd  his  lance; 
Doubts  if  he  wielded  not  a  wooden  spear 
Without  a  point :  He  look'd ;  the  point  was  there. 


This  is  my  hand,  and  this  my  lance  (he  said)  146 

By  which  so  many  thousand  foes  are  dead: 

O,  whither  is  their  usual  virtue  fled ! 

I  had  it  once ;  and  the  Lyrnessian  wall, 

And  Tenedos,  confess'd  it  in  their  fall.  150 

Thy  streams,  Caicus,  roll'd  a  crimson  flood ; 

And  Thebes  ran  red  with  her  own  natives'  blood. 

Twice  Telephus  employ'd  this  piercing  steel, 

To  wound  him  first,  and  afterwards  to  heal. 

The  vigour  of  this  arm  was  never  vain  :  155 

And  that  my  wonted  prowess  I  retain, 

Witness  these  heaps  of  slaughter  on  the  plain. 

He  said  ;  and,  doubtful  of  his  former  deeds, 

To  some  new  trial  of  his  force  proceeds. 

He  chose  Mensetes  from  among  the  rest;  160 

At  him  he  launch'd  his  spear,  and  pierc'd  his  breast : 

On  the  hard  earth  the  Lycian  knock'd  his  head, 

And  lay  supine ;  and  forth  the  spirit  fled. 

Then  thus  the  hero :  neither  can  I  blame 
The  hand  or  jav'lin;  both  are  still  the  same.  165 

The  same  I  will  employ  against  this  foe, 
And  wish  but  with  the  same  success  to  throw. 
So  spoke  the  chief;  and  while  he  spoke,  he  threw  : 
The  weapon  with  unerring  fury  flew, 
At  his  left  shoulder  aim'd :  nor  entrance  found ;      170 
But  back,  as  from  a  rock,  with  swift  rebound 
Harmless  return'd :  A  bloody  mark  appear'd, 
Which  with  false  joy  the  flatter'd  hero  cheer'd. 
Wound  there  was  none  ;  the  blood  that  was  in  view, 
The  lance  before  from  slain  Menaetes  drew.  175 

Headlong  he  leaps  from  off  his  lofty  car, 
And  in  close  fight  on  foot  renews  the  war, 
Raging  with  high  disdain,  repeats  his  blows  ; 
Nor  shield,  nor  armour  can  their  force  oppose  ; 
Huge  cantlets  of  his  buckler  strew  the  ground,       180 
And  no  defence  in  his  bor'd  arms  is  found. 
But  on  his  flesh  no  wound  or  blood  is  seen, 
The  sword  itself  is  blunted  on  the  skin. 

This  vain  attempt  the  chief  no  longer  bears, 
But  round  his  hollow  temples  and  his  cars  185 

His  buckler  beats :  the  son  of  Neptune,  stunn'd 

BOOK  XII.  307 

With  these  repeated  huffets,  quits  his  ground ; 
A  sickly  sweat  succeeds,  and  shades  of  night ; 
Inverted  nature  swims  before  his  sight: 
Th'  insulting  victor  presses  on  the  more,  190 

And  treads  the  steps  the  vanquish'd  trod  before. 
Nor  rest,  nor  respite  gives.     A  stone  there  lay 
Behind  his  trembling  foe,  and  stopp'd  his  way; 
Achilles  took  th'  advantage  which  he  found, 
O'er-turn'd,  andpush'd  him  backward  on  the  ground, 
His  buckler  held  him  under,  while  he  press'd,         196 
With  both  his  knees,  above,  his  panting  breast, 
Unlac'd  his  helm :  About  his  chin  the  twist 
He  ty'd ;  and  soon  the  strangled  soul  dismiss'd. 

With  eager  haste  he  went  to  strip  the  dead;        200 
The  vanish'd  body  from  his  arms  was  fled. 
His  sea-god  sire,  t'  immortalize  his  fame, 
Had  turn'dit  to  a  bird  that  bears  his  name. 
A  truce  succeeds  the  labours  of  this  day, 
And  arms  suspended  with  a  long  delay.  206 

While  Trojan  walls  are  kept  with  watch  and  ward ; 
The  Greeks  before  their  trenches  mount  the  guard: 
The  feast  approach'd;  when  to  the  blue  ey'd  maid 
His  vows  for  Cygnus  slain  the  victor  paid, 
And  a  white  heifer  on  her  altar  laid.  210 

The  reeking  entrails  on  the  fire  they  threw, 
And  to  the  gods  the  grateful  odour  flew  : 
Heav'n  had  its  part  in  sacrifice ;  the  rest 
Wasbroil'd,  and  roasted  for  the  future  feast. 
The  chief  invited  guests  were  set  around,  215 

And  hunger  first  assuag'd,  the  bowls  were  crown'd  ; 
Which  in  deep  draughts  their  cares  and  labours 

The  mellow  harp  did  not  their  ears  employ, 
And  mute  was  all  the  warlike  symphony. 
Discourse,  the  food  of  souls,  was  their  delight,       220 
And  pleasing  chat  prolong'd  the  summer's  night. 
The  subject,  deeds  of  arms ;  and  valour  shewn 
Or  on  the  Trojan  side,  or  on  their  own. 
Of  dangers  undertaken,  fame  achiev'd, 
They  talk  by  turns ;  the  talk  by  turns  reliev'd.       225 
What  things  but  these  could  fierce  Achilles  tell, 


Or  what  could  fierce  Achilles  hear  so  well? 
The  last  great  act  perform'd,  of  Cygnus  slain, 
Did  most  the  martial  audience  entertain, 
Wond'ring  to  find  a  body  free  by  fate  230 

From  steel ;  and  which  could  e'en  that  steel  rebate : 
Amaz'd,  their  admiration  they  renew  ; 
And  scarce  Pelides  could  believe  it  true. 

Then  Nestor  thus:  What  once  this  age  has  known 
In  fated  Cygnus,  and  in  him  alone,  235 

These  eyes  have  seen  in  Cameus  long  before ; 
Whose  body  not  a  thousand  swords  could  bore, 
Casneus,  in  courage,  and  in  strength  excell'd ; 
And  still  his  Othrys  with  his  fame  is  filPd : 
But  what  did  most  his  martial  deeds  adorn,  240 

(Though  since  he  chang'd  his  sex)  a  woman  born. 

A  novelty  so  strange,  and  full  of  fate, 
His  list'ning  audience  ask'd  him  to  relate. 
Achilles  thus  commends  their  common  suit : 
O  father,  first  for  prudence,  in  repute,  245 

Tell,  with  that  eloquence,  so  much  thy  own, 
What  thou  hast  heard,  or  what  of  Caeneus  known  ; 
What  was  he,  whence  his  change  of  sex  begun, 
What  trophies,  join'd  in  wars  with  thee,  he  won  ? 
Who  conquer'd  him,  and  in  what  fatal  strife  250 

The  youth,  without  a  wound,  could  lose  his  life? 

Neleides  then ;  Though  tardy  age,  and  time, 
Have  shrunk  my  sinews  and  decay'd  my  prime  ; 
Though  much  I  have  forgotten  of  my  store; 
Yet  not  exhausted,  I  remember  more.  255 

Of  all  that  arms  achiev'd,  or  peace  design'd, 
That  action  still  is  fresher  in  my  mind 
Than  aught  beside.    If  rev'rend  age  can  give 
To  faith  a  sanction,  in  my  third  I  live. 

'Twas  in  my  second  cent'ry,  I  survey'd  260 

Young  Casnis,  then  a  fair  Thessalian  maid: 
Caenis  the  bright,  was  born  to  high  command ; 
A  princess,  and  a  native  of  thy  land, 
Divine  Achilles ;  ev'ry  tongue  proclaim'd 
Her  beauty,  and  her  eyes  all  hearts  inflam'd.  265 

Peleus,  thy  sire,  perhaps  had  sought  her  bed, 
Among  the  rest;  but  he  had  either  led 

BOOK  XII.  309 

Thy  mother  then,  or  was  by  promise  tied; 
But  she  to  him,  and  all,  alike  her  love  deny'd. 

It  was  her  fortune  once  to  take  her  way  270 

Along  the  sandy  margin  of  the  sea : 
The  power  of  ocean  view'd  her  as  she  pass'd, 
And,  lov'd  as  soon  as  seen,  by  force  embrac'd. 
So  fame  reports,    Her  virgin-treasure  seiz'd, 
And  his  new  joys  the  ravisher  so  pleased,  275 

That  thus  transported,  to  the  nymph  he  cry'd ; 
Ask  what  thou  wilt,  no  pray'r  shall  be  denied. 
This  also  fame  relates :  The  haughty  fair, 
Who  not  the  rape  e'en  of  a  god  could  bear, 
This  answer,  proud,  return'd :  To  mighty  wrongs   280 
A  mighty  recompense,  of  right,  belongs. 
Give  me  no  more  to  suffer  such  a  shame; 
But  change  the  woman  for  a  better  name  ; 
One  gift  for  all.     She  said ;  and  while  she  spoke, 
A  stem,  majestic,  manly  tone  she  took.  285 

A  man  she  was ;  and  as  the  godhead  swore, 
To  Caeneus  turn'd,  who  Csenis  was  before. 

To  this  the  lover  adds,  without  request, 
No  force  of  steel  should  violate  his  breast. 
Glad  of  the  gift,  the  new-made  warrior  goes;  290 

And  arms  among  the  Greeks,  and  longs  for  equal  foes. 

Now  brave  Perithetis,  bold  Ixion's  son, 
The  love  of  fair  Hippodame  had  won. 
The  cloud-begotten  race,  half  men,  half  beast, 
Invited,  came  to  grace  the  nuptial  feast :  295 

In  a  cool  cave's  recess  the  treat  was  made,       [shade. 
Whose  entrance,  trees,  with  spreading  boughs,  o'er- 
They  sat ;  and  summon'd  by  the  bridegroom,  came, 
To  mix  with  those,  the  Lapythaean  name  : 
Nor  wanted  I:  The  roofs  with  joy  resound :  300 

And  Hymen,  lb  Hymen,  rung  around. 
Rais'd  altars  shone  with  holy  fires;  the  bride, 
Lovely  herself  (and  lovely  by  her  side 
A  bevy  of  bright  nymphs,  with  sober  grace), 
Came  glitt'ring  like  a  star,  and  took  her  place.        305 
Her  heav'nly  form  beheld,  all  wish'd  her  joy;      [ploy. 
And  little  wanted,  but  in  vain,  their  wishes  all  em- 

For  one,  most  brutal  of  the  brutal  brood, 


Or  whether  wine  or  beauty  fir'd  his  blood, 

Or  both  at  once.,  beheld  with  lustful  eyes  310 

The  bride  :  at  once  resolv'd  to  make  his  prize. 

Down  went  the  board ;  and  fast'ning  on  her  hair, 

He  seiz'd,  with  sudden  force,  the  frighted  fair. 

'Twas  Eury tus  began ;  his  bestial  kind 

His  crime  pursu'd ;  and  each  as  pleas'd  his  mind,  315 

Or  her,  whom  chance  presented,  took :  The  feast 

An  image  of  a  taken  town  express'd. 

The  cave  resounds  with  female  shrieks ;  we  rise, 
Mad  with  revenge,  to  make  a  swift  reprise  : 
,\nd  Theseus  first :  What  phrensy  has  possest,        320 
O  Eurytus  (he  cry'd),  thy  brutal  breast, 
To  wrong  Perithoiis,  and  not  him  alone, 
But  while  I  live,  two  friends  conjoin'd  in  one? 

To  justify  his  threat,  he  thrusts  aside 
The  crowd  of  centaurs,  and  redeems  the  bride :       325 
The  monster  nought  reply'd  :  For  words  were  vain, 
And  deeds  could  only  deeds  unjust  maintain : 
But  answers  with  his  hand  ;  and  forward  press'd, 
With  blows  redoubled,  on  his  face  and  breast. 
An  ample  goblet  stood,  of  antic  mould,  331) 

And  rough  with  figures  of  the  rising  gold  ; 
The  hero  snatch'd  it  up,  and  toss'd  in  air 
Full  at  the  front  of  the  foul  ravisher. 
He  falls  ;  and,  falling,  vomits  forth  a  flood  3.J4 

Of  wine,  and  foam,  and  brains,  and  mingled  blood. 
Half  roaring  and  half  neighing  through  the  hall, 
Arms,  arms  !  the  double-form'd  with  fury  call: 
To  wreak  their  brother's  death  :  A  medley-flight 
Of  bowls,  and  jars,  at  first  supply  the  fight, 
Once  instruments  of  feasts,  but  now  of  fate  ;  340 

Wine  animates  their  rage,  and  arms  their  hate. 

Bold  Amycus,  from  the  robb'd  vestry  brings 
The  chalices  of  heav'n  ;  and  holy  things 
Of  precious  weight :  A  sconce,  that  hung  on  high, 
With  tapers  fill'd,  to  light  the  sacristy,  MS 

Torn  from  the  cord,  with  his  unhallow'd  hand 
He  threw  arnid  the  Lapythaean  band. 
On  Celadon  the  ruin  fell;  and  left 
His  face  of  feature  and  of  form  bereft: 
So,  when  some  brawny  sacrificer  knocks,  9SQ 

BOOK  XII.  311 

Before  an  altar  led,  an  offer'd  ox, 

His  eye-balls  rooted  out,  are  thrown  to  ground ; 

His  nose,  dismantled,  in  his  mouth  is  found  ; 

His  jaws,  cheeks,  front,  one  undistinguish'd  wound. 

This,  Belates,  th'  avenger, could  not  brook;         355 
But,  by  the  foot,  a  maple  board  he  took; 
And  hurl'd  at  Amycus  ;  his  chin  it  bent 
Against  his  chest,  and  down  the  centaur  sent : 
Whom,  sputt'ring  bloody  teeth,  the  second  blow 
Of  his  drawn  sword,  dispatch'd  to  shades  below.     360 

Grineus  was  near ;  and  cast  a  furious  look 
On  the  side  altar,  cens'd  with  sacred  smoke, 
And  bright  with  flaming  fires  :  The  gods  (he  cry'd), 
Have  with  their  holy  trade  our  hands  supplied  :      364 
Why  use  we  not  their  gifts  ? — Then  from  the  floor 
An  altar  stone  he  heav'd,  with  all  the  load  it  bore  : 
Altar,  and  altar's  freight,  together  flew, 
Where  thickest  throng'd  the  Lapythaean  crew  ; 
And,  at  once,  Broteas,  and  Oryus  slew. 
Oryus'  mother,  Mycale,  was  known  370 

Down  from  her  sphere  to  draw  the  lab'ring  moon. 
Exadius  cry'd  ;   Unpunish'd  shall  not  go 
This  fact,  if  arms  are  found  against  the  foe. 
He  look'd  about,  where  on  a  pine  were  spread 
The  votive  horns  of  a  stag's  branching  head :  375 

At  Grineus  those  he  throws;  so  just  they  fly, 
That  the  sharp  antlers  stuck  in  either  eye  : 
Breathless  and  blind  he  fell ;  with  blood  besmear'd 
His  eye-balls  beaten  out,  hung  dangling  on  his  beard. 
Fierce  Rhastus,  from  the  hearth  a  burning  brand    380 
Selects,  and  whirling,  waves;  till,  from  his  hand 
The  fire  took  flame  :  then  dash'd  it  from  the  right, 
On  fair  Charaxus'  temples,  near  the  sight : 
The  whistliug  pest  came  on,  and  pierc'd  the  bone, 
And  caught  the  yellow  hair,  that  shrivell'd  while  it 

shone.  385 

Caught,  like  dry  stubble  fir'd ;  or  like  seer-wood, 
Yet  from  the  wound  ensu'd  no  purple  flood ; 
But  look'd  a  bubbling  mass,  of  frying  blood. 
His  blazing  locks  sent  forth  a  crackling  sound ; 
And  hiss'  red-hot  ir'n  within  the  smithy  droAvn'd. 
The  wounded  warrior  shook  his  flaming  hair,  391 


Then  (what  a  team  of  horse  could  hardly  rear) 

He  heaves  the  threshold-stone  ;  but  could  not  throw ; 

The  weight  itself  forbade  the  threaten'd  blow; 

Which,  dropping  from  his  lifted  arms,  came  down 

Full  on  Cometes'  head;  and  crush'd  his  crown.      396 

Nor  Rhaetus  then  retain'd  his  joy  ;  but  said, 

So  by  their  fellows  may  our  foes  be  sped ! 

Then  with  redoubled  strokes  he  plies  his  head  : 

The  burning  lever  not  deludes  his  pains:  400 

But  drives  the  batter 'd  skull  within  the  brains. 

Thus  flush'd,  the  conqueror,  with  force  renew'd ; 
Evagrus,  Dyras,  Corythus,  pursu'd: 
First,  Corythus,  with  downy  cheeks,  he  slew ; 
Whose  fall,  when  fierce  Evagrus  had  in  view,        405 
He  cry'd,  What  palm  is  from  a  beardless  prey? 
Rhaetus  prevents  what  more  he  had  to  say, 
And  drove  within  his  mouth  the  fiery  death  ; 
Which  enter'd  hissing  in,  and  chok'd  hi3  breath. 
At  Dryas  next  he  flew :  But  weary  chance,  410 

No  longer  would  the  same  success  advance. 
For  while  he  whirl'd  in  fiery  circles  round 
The  brand,  a  sharpen'd  stake  strong  Dryas  found : 
And  in  the  shoulder's  joint  inflicts  the  wound. 
The  weapon  stuck,  which,  roaring  out  with  pain,  415 
He  drew;  nor  longer  durst  the  fight  maintain, 
But  turn'd  his  back  for  fear,  and  fled  amain. 
With  him  fled  Orneus,  with  like  dread  possest; 
Thaumas,  and  Medon  wounded  in  the  breast ; 
And  Mermeros,  in  the  late  race  renown'd,  420 

Now  limping  ran,  and  tardy  with  his  wound. 
Pholus,  and  Melaneus  from  fight  withdrew, 
And  Abas,  maim'd,  who  boars  encount'ring  slew : 
And  augur  Astylos,  whose  art  in  vain, 
From  fight  dissuaded  the  four-footed  train  ;  425 

Now  beat  the  hoof  with  Nessus  on  the  plain ; 
But  to  his  fellow  cry'd,  Be  safely  slow, 
Thy  death  deferr'd  is  due  to  great  Alcides'  bow. 

Meantime,  strong  Dryas  urg'd  his  chance  so  well, 
That  Lycidas,  Areos,  Imbreus  fell :  430 

All,  one  by  one,  and  fighting  face  to  face  : 
Crenseus  fled,  to  fall  with  more  disgrace ; 
For,  fearful,  while  he  look'd  behind,  he  bore 

BOOK  XII.  313 

Betwixt  his  nose  and  front,  the  blow  before. 

Amid  the  noise  and  tumult  of  the  fray,  435 

Snoring,  and  drunk  with  wine,  Aphidas  lay. 

E'en  then  the  bowl  within  his  hand  he  kept, 

And  on  a  bear's  rough  hide  securely  slept. 

Him  Phorbas  with  his  flying  dart  transfix'd  ; — 

Take  thy  next  draught,  with  Stygian  waters  mix'd, 

And  sleep  thy  fill  (th'  insulting  victor  cry'd)  :         441 

Surpris'd  with  death  unfelt,  the  centaur  dy'd: 

The  ruddy  vomit,  as  he  breath'd  his  soul, 

Repass'd  his  throat,  and  fill'd  his  empty  bowl. 

I  saw  Petraus'  arms  employ'd  around  445 

A  well-grown  oak,  to  root  it  from  the  ground. 

This  way,  and  that,  he  wrench'd  the  fibrous  bands ; 

The  trunk  was  like  a  sapling  in  his  hands, 

And  still  obey'd  the  bent ;  while  thus  he  stood, 

Perithbus'  dart  drove  on,  and  nail'd  him  to  the  wood : 

Lycus,  and  Chromis  fell,  by  him  opprest:  451 

Helops,  and  Dictis  added  to  the  rest 

A  nobler  palm  :  Helops,  through  either  ear 

Transfix'd,  receiv'd  the  penetrating  spear. 

This  Dictis  saw ;  and,  seiz'd  with  sudden  fright,     455 

Leapt  headlong  from  the  hill  of  steepy  height ; 

And  crush'd  an  ash  beneath,  that  could  not  bear  his 

The  shatter'd  tree  receives  his  fall;  and  strikes, 
Within  his  full-blown  paunch,  the  sharpen'd  spikes. 
Strong  Aphareus  had  heav'd  a  mighty  stone,  460 

The  fragment  of  a  rock  ;  and  would  have  thrown, 
But  Theseus,  with  a  club  of  harden'd  oak, 
The  cubit  bone  of  the  bold  centaur  broke, 
And  left  him  maim'd ;  nor  seconded  the  stroke. 
Then  leap'd  on  tall  Bianor's  back  (who  bore  465 

No  mortal  burthen  but  his  own,  before)  ; 
Press'd  with  his  knees  his  sides  ;  the  double  man, 
His  speed  with  spurs  increas'd,  unwilling  ran. 
One  hand  the  hero  fasten'd  on  his  locks ; 
His  other  ply'd  him  with  repeated  strokes.  470 

The  club  rung  round  his  ears,  and  batter'd  brows; 
He  falls;  and  lashing  up  his  heels,  his  rider  throws. 

The  same  Herculean  arms,  Medymnus  wound; 
And  lays  by  him  Lycotas  on  the  ground. 


And  Hyppasus,  whose  beard  his  breast  invades ;     475 
And  Ripheus,  haunter  of  the  woodland  shades : 
And  Tereus,  us'd  with  mountain-bears  to  strive ; 
And  from  their  dens  to  draw  the  indignant  beasts 
Demoleon  could  not  bear  this  hateful  sight,   [alive. 
Or  the  long  fortune  of  th'  Athenian  knight:  480 

But  pull'd  with  all  his  force,  to  disengage 
From  earth  a  pine,  the  product  of  an  age  : 
The  root  stuck  fast :  the  broken  trunk  he  sent 
At  Theseus :  Theseus  frustrates  his  intent, 
And  leaps  aside;  by  Pallas  warn'd  the  blow  485 

To  shun  (for  so  he  said  ;  and  we  believ'd  it  so) : 
Yet  not  in  vain  th'  enormous  weight  was  cast ; 
Which  Crantor's  body  sunder'd  at  the  waist: 
Thy  father's  squire,  Achilles,  and  his  care ; 
Whom  conquer'd  in  the  Dolopeian  war,  490 

Their  king,  his  present  ruin  to  prevent, 
A  pledge  of  peace  imnlcr'd  to  Peleus  sent. 

Thy  sire,  with  grieving  eyes,  beheld  his  fate; 
And  cry'd,  Not  long,  lov'd  Crantor,  shalt  thou  wait 
Thy  vow'd  revenge.    At  once  he  said,  and  threw    495 
His  ashen  spear ;  which  quiver'd  as  it  flew ; 
With  all  his  force,  and  all  his  soul  apply'd ; 
The  sharp  point  enter'd  in  the  centaur's  side : 
Both  hands  to  wrench  it  out  the  monster  join'd  ; 
And  wrench'd  it  out,  but  left  the  steel  behind  ;        50(» 
Stuck  in  his  lungs  it  stood  ;  enrag'd  he  rears 
His  hoofs,  and  down  to  ground  thy  father  bears. 
Thus  trampled  under  foot,  his  shield  defends 
His  head ;  bis  other  hand  the  lance  portends. 
E'en  while  he  lay  extended  on  the  dust,  5u5 

He  sped  the  centaur,  with  one  single  thrust. 
Two  more  his  lance  before  transnx'd  from  far ; 
And  two,  his  sword  had  slain,  in  closer  war. 
To  these  was  added  Dorylas,  who  spread 
A  bull's  two  goring  horns  around  his  head.  510 

With  these  he  push'd :  In  blood  already  dy'd, 
Him  fearless  I  approach'd,  and  thus  defy'd ; 
Now,  monster,  now,  by  proof  it  shall  appear, 
Whether  thy  horns  are  sharper,  or  my  spear. 
At  this,  I  threw ;  for  want  of  other  ward,  515 

BOOK  XII.  315 

He  lifted  up  his  hand,  his  front  to  guard. 
His  hand  it  pass'd,  and  fix'd  it  to  his  brow  : 
Loud  shouts  of  ours  attend  the  lucky  blow. 
Him  Peleus  finished,  with  a  second  wound,  510 

Which  through  the  navel  pierc'd  ;  he  reel'd  around ; 
And  dragg'd  his  dangling  bowels  on  the  ground. 
Trod  what  he  dragg'd  ;  and  what  he  trod  he  crush'd: 
And  to  his  mother-earth,  with  empty  belly,  rush'd. 

Nor  could  thy  form,  0  Cyllarus,  foreshew 
Thy  fate  (if  form  to  monsters  men  allow) :  525 

Just  bloom'd  thy  beard ;  thy  beard  of  golden  hue ; 
Thy  locks,  in  golden  waves  about  thy  shoulders  flew. 
Sprightly  thy  look:  Thy  shapes  in  ev'ry  part 
So  clean,  as  might  instruct  the  sculptor's  art ; 
As  far  as  man  extended  :  Where  began  530 

The  beast,  the  beast  was  equal  to  the  man. 
Add  but  a  horse's  head  and  neck ;  and  he, 
O  Castor,  was  a  courser  worthy  thee. 
So  was  his  back  proportion'd  for  the  seat; 
So  rose  his  brawny  chest ;  so  swiftly  mov'd  his  feet. 
Coal-black  his  colour,  but  like  jet  it  shone  ;  536 

His  legs  and  flowing  tail  were  white  alone. 
Belov'd  by  many  maidens  of  his  kind, 
But  fair  Hylonome  possess'd  his  mind ; 
Hylonome,  for  features,  and  for  face,  540 

Excelling  all  the  nymphs  of  double  race : 
Nor  less  her  blandishments,  than  beauty,  move : 
At  once  both  loving,  and  confessing  love. 
For  him  she  dress'd  ;  for  him  with  female  care, 
She  combed,  and  set  in  curls,  her  auburn  hair.        545 
Of  roses,  violets,  and  lilies  mix'd, 
And  sprigs  of  flowing  rosemary  betwixt, 
She  form'd  the  chaplet,  that  adorn'd  her  front : 
In  waters  of  the  Pegassean  fount, 
And  in  the  streams  that  from  the  fountain  play,     550 
She  wash'd  her  face  ;  and  bath'd  her  twice  a  day. 
The  scarf  of  furs,  that  hung  below  her  side, 
Was  ermine,  or  the  panther's  spotted  pride  ; 
Spoils  of  no  common  beasts.     With  equal  flame 
They  lov'd :  their  sylvan  pleasures  were  the  same  : 
All  day  they  hunted ;  and  when  day  expir'd,  556 

Together  to  some  shady  cave  retir'd: 


Invited  to  the  nuptials  both  repair, 

And,  side  by  side,  they  both  eDgage  in  war. 

Uncertain  from  what  hand,  a  flying  dart  560 

At  Cyllarus  was  sent ;  which  pierc'd  his  heart. 
The  jav'lin  drawn  from  out  the  mortal  wound, 
He  faints  with  stagg'ring  steps,  and  seeks  the  ground : 
The  fair  within  her  arms  receiv'd  his  fall, 
And  strove  his  wand'ring  spirits  to  recal :  565 

And  while  her  hand  the  streaming  blood  opposed, 
Join'd  face  to  face,  his  lips  with  hers  she  clos'd. 
Stifled  with  kisses,  a  sweet  death  he  dies ; 
She  fills  the  fields  with  undistinguish'd  cries: 
At  least  her  words  were  in  her  clamour  drown'd ;  570 
For  my  stunn'd  ears  receiv'd  no  vocal  sound. 
In  madness  of  her  grief,  she  seiz'd  the  dart, 
New-drawn,  and  reeking  from  her  lover's  heart; 
To  her  bare  bosom  the  sharp  point  apply'd; 
And  wounded  fell ;  and,  falling  by  his  side,  575 

Embrac'd  him  in  her  arms ;  and,  thus  embracing, 

E'en  still  methinks  I  see  Phaeocomes; 
Strange  was  his  habit,  and  as  odd  his  dress: 
Six  lions'  hides,  with  thongs  together  fast, 
His  upper  part  defended  to  his  waist:  580 

And  where  man  ended,  the  continu'd  vest, 
Spread  on  his  back,  the  house  and  trappings  of  a  beast. 
A  stump  too  heavy  for  a  team  to  draw 
(It  seems  a  fable,  though  the  fact  I  saw), 
He  threw  at  Pholon ;  the  descending  blow  585 

Divides  the  skull,  and  cleaves  his  head  in  two. 
The  brains  from  nose,  and  mouth,  and  either  ear, 
Came  issuing  out,  as  through  a  colander 
The  curdled  milk;  or  from  the  press  the  whey, 
Driv'n  down  by  weights  above,  is  drain'd  away.    590 

But  him,  while  stooping  down  to  spoil  the  slain, 
Pierc'd  through  the  paunch,  I  tumbled  on  the  plain. 
Then  Chthonyus,  and  Telebbas  I  slew  : 
A  fork  the  former  arm'd ;  a  dart  his  fellow  threw : 
The  jav'lin  wounded  me  (behold  the  scar);  595 

Then  was  my  time  to  seek  the  Trojan  war; 
Then  I  was  Hector's  match  in  open  field; 
But  he  was  then  unborn ;  at  least  a  child : 
Now,  I  am  nothing.     I  forbear  to  tell 

BOOK  XII.  317 

By  Periphantas  how  Pyretus  fell;  600 

The  centaur  by  the  knight :  nor  will  I  stay 
On  Amphix,  or  what  deaths  he  dealt  that  day : 
What  honour,  with  a  pointless  lance  he  won, 
Stuck  in  the  front  of  a  four-footed  man : 
What  fame  young  Macareus  obtain'd  in  fight:        605 
Or  dwell  on  Nessus,  now  return'd  from  flight: 
How  prophet  Mopsus,  not  alone  divin'd, 
Whose  valour  equall'd  his  foreseeing  mind. 

Already  Cameus  with  his  conqu'ring  hand 
Had  slaughter'd  five,  the  boldest  of  their  band ;      610 
Pyrachmus,  Helymus,  Antimachus, 
Bromus  the  brave,  and  stronger  Stiphelus. 
Their  names  I  number'd,  and  remember  well, 
No  trace  remaining,  by  what  wounds  they  fell. 

Laitreus,  the  bulkiest  of  the  double  race,  615 

Whom  the  spoil'd  arms  of  slain  Halesus  grace, 
In  years  retaining  still  his  youthful  might, 
Though  his  black  hairs  were  interspers'd  with  white, 
Betwixt  th'  embattled  ranks  began  to  prance, 
Proud  of  his  helm,  and  Macedonian  lance  :  620 

And  rode  the  ring  around ;  that  either  host 
Might  hear  him,  while  he  made  this  empty  boast: 
And  from  a  strumpet  shall  we  suffer  shame, 
For  Csenis  still,  not  Cameus  is  thy  name  1 
And  still  the  native  softness  of  thy  kind  625 

Prevails;  and  leaves  the  woman  in  thy  mind  ; 
Remember  what  thou  wert;  what  price  was  paid 
To  change  thy  sex ;  to  make  thee  not  a  maid  ; 
And  but  a  man  in  show :  Go,  card  and  spin ; 
And  leave  the  business  of  the  war  to  men.  630 

While  thus  the  boaster  exercis'd  his  pride, 
The  fatal  spear  of  Caeneus  reach'd  his  side : 
Ju3t  in  the  mixture  of  the  kinds  it  ran ; 
Betwixt  the  nether  beast  and  upper  man  : 
The  monster  mad  with  rage,  and  stung  with  smart, 
His  lance  directed  at  the  hero's  heart :  636 

It  struck ;  but  bounded  from  his  harden'd  breast, 
Like  hail  from  tiles,  which  the  safe  house  invest; 
Nor  seem'd  the  stroke  with  more  effect  to  come, 
Than  a  small  pebble  falling  on  a  drum.  640 


He  next  his  falchion  try'd,  in  closer  fight ; 

But  the  keen  falchion  had  no  pow'r  to  bite. 

He  thrust:  the  blunted  point  return'd  again. 

Since  downright  blows  (he  cried),  and  thrusts  are  vain , 

I'll  prove  his  side.     In  strong  embraces  held,         645 

He  prov'd  his  side;  his  side  the  sword  repell'd; 

His  hollow  belly  echo'd  to  the  stroke, 

Untouch' d  his  body  as  a  solid  rock; 

Aim'd  at  his  neck  at  last,  the  blade  in  shivers  broke. 

Th'  impassive  knight  stood  idle,  to  deride  650 

His  rage,  and  offer'd  oft  his  naked  side  ; 
At  length,  Now,  monster,  in  thy  turn  (he  cried), 
Try  thou  the  strength  of  Cseneus.    At  the  word, 
He  thrust;  and  in  his  shoulder  plung'd  the  sword. 
Then  writh'd  his  hand :  and  as  he  drove  it  down,  655 
Deep  in  his  breast,  made  many  wounds  in  one. 

The  centaurs  saw,  enrag'd,  th'  unhop'd  success ; 
And  rushing  on,  in  crowds  together  press. 
At  him,  and  him  alone,  their  darts  they  threw; 
Repuls'd,  they  from  his  fated  body  flew.  660 

Amaz'd  they  stood;  till  Monichus  began: 
O  shame  !  a  nation  couquer'd  by  a  man ! 
A  woman-man  !  yet  more  a  man  is  he 
Than  all  our  race ;  and  what  he  was,  are  we. 
Now,  what  avail  our  nerves?  th'  united  force         665 
Of  two  the  strongest  creatures,  man  and  horse; 
Nor  goddess-born  ;  nor  of  Ixion's  seed 
We  seem  (a  lover  built  for  Juno's  bed), 
Master'd  by  this  half-man.     Whole  mountains  throw 
With  woods  at  once,  and  bury  him  below.  670 

This  only  way  remains.     Nor  need  we  doubt 
To  choke  the  soul  within,  though  not  to  force  it  out : 
Heap  weights  instead  of  wounds. — He  chanc'd  to  see 
Where  southern  storms  had  rooted  up  a  tree ; 
This,  rais'd  from  earth,  against  the  foe  he  threw;  675 
Th'  example  shewn,  his  fellow  brutes  puraue : 
With  forest-loads  the  warrior  they  invade  ; 
Othrys  and  Pelion  soon  were  void  of  shade; 
And  spreading  groves  were  naked  mountains  made. 
Prest  with  the  burthen,  Ca;neus  pants  for  breath ;  680 
And  on  his  shoulders  bears  the  wooden  death. 
To  heave  th'  intolerable  weight  he  tries ; 

BOOK  XII.  31'J 

At  length  it  rose  above  his  mouth  and  eyes; 

Yet  still  he  heaves ;  and  struggling  with  despair, 

Shakes  all  aside,  and  gains  a  gulp  of  air  :  685 

A  short  relief,  which  but  prolongs  his  pain  : 

He  faints  by  lits ;  and  then  respires  again ; 

At  last,  the  burthen  only  nods  above, 

As  when  an  earthquake  stirs  th'  Idaean  grove. 

Doubtful  his  death :  he  suffocated  seem'd,  690 

To  most:  but  otherwise  our  Mopsus  deem'd, 

Who  said  he  saw  a  yellow  bird  arise 

From  out  the  piles,  and  cleave  the  liquid  skies : 

I  saw  it  too,  with  golden  feathers  bright; 

Nor  e'er  before  beheld  so  strange  a  sight.  695 

Whom  Mopsus  viewing,  as  it  soar'd  around 

Our  troop,  and  heard  the  pinions'  rattling  sound, 

All  hail  (he  cry'd),  thy  country's  grace  and  love, 

Once  first  of  men  below,  now  first  of  birds  above  ! 

Its  author  to  the  story  gave  belief;  700 

For  us,  our  courage  was  increas'd  by  grief: 

Asham'd  to  see  a  single  man,  pursu'd 

With  odds,  to  sink  beneath  a  multitude, 

We  push'd  the  foe,  and,  forc'd  to  shameful  flight, 

Part  fell,  and  part  escap'd  by  favour  of  the  night.  705 

This  tale,  by  Nestor  told,  did  much  displease 
Tlepolemus,  the  seed  of  Hercules: 
For  often  he  had  heard  his  father  say, 
That  he  himself  was  present  at  the  fray; 
And  more  than  shar'dthe  glories  of  the  day.  710 

Old  Chronicle  (he  said),  among  the  rest, 
You  might  have  nam'd  Alcides  at  the  least: 
Is  he  not  worth  your  praise?  The  Pylian  prince 
Sigh'd  ere  he  spoke ;  then  made  this  proud  defence : 
My  former  woes  in  long  oblivion  drown'd,  715 

I  would  have  lost ;  but  you  renew  the  wound; 
Better  to  pass  him  o'er,  than  to  relate 
The  cause  I  have  your  mighty  sire  to  hate. 
His  fame  has  fill'd  the  world,  and  reach'd  the  sky ; 
(Which,  oh,  I  wish,  with  truth,  I  could  deny!)       720 
We  praise  not  Hector;  though  his  name  we  know 
Is  great  in  arms;  'tis  hard  to  praise  a  foe. 

He,  your  great  father,  levell'd  to  the  ground 
Messenia's  tow'rs :  nor  better  fortune  found 


Elis,  and  Pylos ;  that  a  neighb'ring  state,  725 

And  this  my  own;  both  guiltless  of  their  fate. 

To  pass  the  rest,  twelve  wanting  one  he  slew ; 
My  brethren,  who  their  birth  from  Neleus  drew, 
All  youths  of  early  promise,  had  they  liv'd; 
By  him  they  perish'd :  I  alone  surviv'd.  730 

The  rest  were  easy  conquest;  but  the  fate 
Of  Periclymenos,  is  wondrous  to  relate ; 
To  him,  our  common  grandsire  of  the  main       [again. 
Had  giv'n  to  change  his  form,  and  chang'd,  resume 
Varied  at  pleasure,  ev'ry  shape  he  try'd;  735 

And  in  all  beasts,  Alcides  still  defy'd; 
Vanquish'd  on  earth,  at  length  he  soar'd  above : 
Chang'd  to  a  bird,  that  bears  the  bolt  of  Jove: 
The  new-dissembled  eagle,  now  endu'd 
With  beak,  and  pounces,  Hercules  pursu'd,  740 

And  cuff'd  his  manly  cheeks,  and  tore  his  face; 
Then,  safe  retir'd,  and  tow'r'd  in  empty  space. 
Alcides  bore  not  long  his  flying  foe ; 
But  bending  his  inevitable  bow, 

Reach'd  him  in  air,  suspended  as  he  stood;  745 

And  in  his  pinion  fix'd  the  feather' d  wood. 
Light  was  the  wound ;  but  in  the  sinew  hung 
The  point,  and  his  disabled  wing  unstrung. 
He  wheel'd  in  air,  and  stretch'd  his  vans  in  vain ; 
His  vans  no  longer  could  his  flight  sustain :  750 

For  while  one  gather'd  wind,  one  unsupplied 
Hung  drooping  down,  nor  pois'd  his  other  side. 
He  fell :  The  shaft  that  slightly  was  imprest, 
Now  from  his  heavy  fall  with  weight  increas'd, 
Drove  through  his  neck,  aslant ;  he  spurns  the  ground, 
And  the  soul  issues  through  the  weazon's  wound.  75G 

Now,  brave  commander  of  the  Rhodian  seas, 
What  praise  is  due  from  me  to  Hercules  1 
Silence  is  all  the  vengeance  I  decree 
For  my  slain  brothers  :  but  'tis  peace  with  thee.     760 

Thus  with  a  flowing  tongue  old  Nestor  spoke ; 
Then,  to  full  bowls  each  other  they  provoke  : 
At  length,  with  weariness  and  wine  opprest, 
They  rise  from  table,  and  withdraw  to  rest. 

BOOK  XII.  321 

The  sire  of  Cygnus,  monarch  of  the  main,  765 

Meantime,  laments  his  son  in  battle  slain, 
And  vows  the  victor's  death;  nor  vows  in  vain. 
For  nine  long  years  the  smother'd  pain  he  bore 
(Achilles  was  not  ripe  for  fate  before): 
Then  when  he  saw  the  promis'd  hour  was  near,     770 
He  thus  bespoke  the  god  that  guides  the  year: 
Immortal  offspring  of  my  brother  Jove; 
My  brightest  nephew,  and  whom  best  I  love; 
Whose  hands  were  join'd  with  mine,  to  raise  the  wall 
Of  tott'ring  Troy,  now  nodding  to  her  fall,  775 

Dost  thou  not  mourn  our  pow'r  employ'd  in  vain, 
And  the  defenders  of  our  city  slain  ? 
To  pass  the  rest,  could  noble  H  ector  lie 
Unpitied,  dragg'd  around  his  native  Troy  1 
And  yet  the  murd'rer  lives:  himself  by  far  780 

A  greater  plague,  than  all  the  wasteful  war: 
He  lives;  the  proud  P  elides  lives  to  boast 
Our  town  dnstroy'd,  our  common  labour  lost. 
O,  could  I  meet  him !  But  I  wish  too  late: 
To  prove  my  trident  is  not  in  his  fate  !  785 

But  let  him  try  (for  that's  allow'd)  thy  dart, 
And  pierce  his  only  penetrable  part. 

Apollo  bows  to  the  superior  throne : 
And  to  his  uncle's  anger  adds  his  own. 
Then  in  a  cloud  involv'd  he  takes  his  flight,  790 

Where  Greeks  and  Trojans,  mix'd  in  mortal  fight; 
And  found  out  Paris,  lurking  where  he  stood, 
And  stain'd  his  arrows  with  plebeian  blood: 
Phcebus  to  him  alone  the  god  confess'd, 
Then  to  the  recreant  knight  he  thus  address'd  :      795 
Dost  not  thou  blush  to  spend  thy  shafts  in  vain, 
On  a  degenerate,  and  ignoble  train  ? 
If  fame,  or  better  vengeance  be  thy  care, 
There  aim :  And,  with  one  arrow,  end  the  war. 

He  said ;  and  shew'd  from  far  the  blazing  shield 
And  sword,  which,  but  Achilles,  nonecould  wield ;  801 
And  how  he  mov'd  a  god,  and  mow'd  the  standing 
The  deity  himself  directs  aright  [field. 

Th'  envenom'd  shaft,  and  wings  the  fatal  flight. 

Thus  fell  the  foremost  of  the  Grecian  name;        805 
And  he,  the  base  adult'rer,  boasts  the  fame. 
P  2 


A  spectacle  to  glad  the  Trojan  train ; 

And  please  old  Priam,  after  Hector  slain. 

If  by  a  female  hand  he  had  foreseen 

He  was  to  die,  his  wish  had  rather  been  810 

The  lance,  and  double  axe  of  the  fair  warrior  queen. 

And  now  the  terror  of  the  Trojan  field, 

The  Grecian  honour,  ornament,  and  shield, 

High  on  a  pile,  th'  unconquer'd  chief  is  plac'd, 

The  god  that  arm'd  him  first,  consum'd  at  last.        815 

Of  all  the  mighty  man,  the  small  remains, 

A  little  urn,  and  scarcely  fill'd,  contains. 

Yet  great  in  Homer,  still  Achillas  lives ; 

And  equal  to  himself,  himself  survives. 

His  buckler  owns  its  former  lord ;  and  brings      820 
New  cause  of  strife,  betwixt  contending  kings ; 
Who  worthiest  after  him,  his  sword  to  wield, 
Or  wear  his  armour,  or  sustain  his  shield. 
E'en  Diomede  sat  mute,  with  downcast  eyes : 
Conscious  of  wanted  worth  to  win  the  prize :  825 

Nor  Menelaus  presum'd  these  arms  to  claim, 
Nor  he  the  king  of  men,  a  greater  name. 
Two  rivals  only  rose  :   Laertes'  son, 
And  the  vast  bulk  of  Ajax  Telamon: 
The  king,  who  cherish'd  each,  with  equal  love,       830 
And  from  himself  all  envy  would  remove, 
Left  both  to  be  determin'd  by  the  laws; 
And  to  the  Grecian  chiefs  transferr'd  the  cause. 



The  speeches  of  Ajax  and  Ulysses-  The  death  of  Ajax.  The 
story  of  Polvxena  and  Hecuba.  The  funeral  of  Memnon.  The 
voyage  of  j?Eiieas.  The  story  of  Acis,  Polyphemus,  and  Galatea. 
The  story  of  Glaucus  and  Scylla. 

The  chiefs  were  set;  the  soldiers  crown'd  the  field: 
To  these,  the  master  of  the  sevenfold  shield 
Upstarted  fierce;  and  kindled  with  disdain, 
Eager  to  speak,  unable  to  contain 
His  boiling  rage,  he  roll'd  his  eyes  around  5 

The  shore,  and  Grecian  galleys  haul'd  aground. 

BOOK  XIII.  323 

Then  stretching  out  his  hands,  O  Jove,  he  cry'd, 

Must  then  our  cause  before  the  fleet  be  tried? 

And  dares  Ulysses  for  the  prize  contend, 

In  sight  of  what  he  durst  not  once  defend  ?  10 

But  basely  fled  that  memorable  day,  [prey. 

When  I  from  Hector's  hands  redeem'd  the  flaming 

So  much  'tis  safer  at  the  noisy  bar 

With  words  to  flourish,  than  engage  in  war. 

By  diff'rent  methods  we  maintain  our  right,  15 

Nor  am  I  made  to  talk,  nor  he  to  fight. 

In  bloody  fields  I  labour  to  be  great: 

His  arms  are  a  smooth  tongue  and  soft  deceit : 

Nor  need  I  speak  my  deeds,  for  those  you  see, 

The  sun  and  day  are  witnesses  for  me.  20 

Let  him  who  fights  unseen,  relate  his  own, 

And  vouch  the  silent  stars,  and  conscious  moon. 

Great  is  the  prize  demanded,  I  confess, 

But  such  an  abject  rival  makes  it  less; 

That  gift,  those  honours,  he  but  hop'd  to  gain,  25 

Can  leave  no  room  for  Ajax  to  be  vain : 

Losing  he  wins,  because  his  name  will  be 

Ennobled  by  defeat,  who  durst  contend  with  me. 

Were  my  known  valour  question'd,  yet  my  blood 

Without  that  plea  would  make  my  title  good :  30 

My  sire  was  Telamon,  whose  arms,  employ'd 

With  Hercules,  these  Trojan  walls  destroy'd; 

And  who  before  with  Jason,  sent  from  Greece, 

In  the  first  ship  brought  home  the  golden.fleece. 

Great  Telamon  from  iEacus  derives  35 

His  birth  (th'  inquisitor  of  guilty  lives 

In  shades  below ;  where  Sisyphus,  whose  son 

This  thief  is  thought,  rolls  up  the  restless,  heavy  stone). 

Just  iEacus,  the  king  of  gods  above 

Begot:  Thus  Ajax  is  the  third  from  Jove.  40 

Nor  should  I  seek  advantage  from  my  line, 

Unless  (Achilles)  it  were  mix'd  with  thine : 

As  next  of  kin,  Achilles'  arms  I  claim; 

This  fellow  would  ingraft  a  foreign  name 

Upon  our  stock,  and  the  Sisyphian  seed  45 

By  fraud  and  theft  asserts  his  father's  breed : 

Then  must  I  lose  these  arms,  because  I  came 

To  fight  uncall'd  a  voluntary  name, 


Nor  shunn'd  the  cause,  but  offer'd  you  my  aid, 

While  he,  long  lurking,  was  to  war  betray'd:  50 

Forc'd  to  the  field  he  came,  but  in  the  rear  ; 

And  feign'd  distraction,  to  conceal  his  fear : 

Till  one  more  cunning,  caught  him  in  the  snare 

(111  for  himself);  and  dragg'd  him  into  war. 

Now  let  a  hero's  arms  a  coward  vest,  55 

And  he  who  shunn'd  all  honours,  gain  the  best : 

And  let  me  stand  excluded  from  my  right, 

Robb'd  of  my  kinsman's  arms,  who  first  appear'd  in 

Better  for  us,  at  home  had  he  remain'd,  [fight. 

Had  it  been  true  the  madness  which  he  feign'd,        60 

Or  so  believ'd;  the  less  had  been  our  shame, 

The  less   his  counsell'd  crime,  which  brands  the 

Grecian  name ; 
Nor  Philoctetes  had  been  left  inclos'd 
In  a  bare  isle,  to  wants  and  pains  expos'd, 
Where  to  the  rocks,  with  solitary  groans,  65 

His  sufferings  and  our  baseness  he  bemoans : 
And  wishes  (so  may  Heav'n  his  wish  fulfil) 
The  due  reward  to  him  who  caus'd  his  ill. 
Now  he  with  us  to  Troy's  destruction  sworn, 
Our  brother  of  the  war,  by  whom  are  borne  70 

Alcides'  arrows,  pent  in  narrow  bounds, 
With  cold  andhungerpinch'd,andpain'd  with  wounds, 
To  find  him  food  and  clothing,  must  employ 
Against  the  birds,  the  shafts  due  to  the  fate  of  Troy. 
Yet  still  he  lives,  and  lives  from  treason  free,  75 

Because  he  left  Ulysses'  company : 
Poor  Palamede  might  wish,  so  void  of  aid, 
Rather  to  have  been  left,  than  so  to  death  betray'd. 
The  coward  bore  the  man  immortal  spite, 
Who  sham'd  him  out  of  madness  into  fight:  80 

Nor  daring  otherwise  to  vent  his  hate, 
Accus'd  him  first  of  treason  to  the  state ; 
And  then,  for  proof,  produc'd  the  golden  store, 
Himself  had  hidden  in  his  tent  before : 
Thus  of  two  champions  he  depriv'd  out  host,  85 

By  exile  one,  and  one  by  treason  lost. 
Thus  fights  Ulysses,  thus  his  fame  extends, 
A  formidable  man,  but  to  his  friends: 
Great,  for  what  greatness  is  in  words  and  sound.. 

BOOK  XIII.  325 

E'en  faithful  Nestor  less  in  both  is  found :  90 

But  that  he  might  without  a  rival  reign, 

He  left  his  faithful  Nestor  on  the  plain; 

Forsook  his  friend,  e'en  at  his  utmost  need, 

Who,  tir'd  and  tardy  with  his  wounded  steed, 

Cried  out  for  aid,  and  call'd  him  by  his  name :         95 

But  cowardice  has  neither  ears  nor  shame  : 

Thus  fled  the  good  old  man,  bereft  of  aid, 

And,  for  as  much  as  lay  in  him,  betray'd; 

That  this  is  not  a  fable  forg'd  by  me, 

Like  one  of  his,  an  Ulyssean  lie,  100 

I  vouch  e'en  Diomede,  who,  though  his  friend, 

Cannot  that  act  excuse,  much  less  defend ; 

He  calVd  him  back  aloud,  and  tax'd  his  fear  ; 

And  sure  enough  he  heard,  but  durst  not  hear. 

The  gods  with  equal  eyes  on  mortals  look,  105 

He  justly  was  forsaken,  who  forsook : 
Wanted  that  succour  he  refus'd  to  lend, 
Found  ev'ry  fellow  such  another  friend: 
No  wonder  if  he  roar'd  that  all  might  hear ; 
His  elocution  was  increas'd  by  fear.  110 

I  heard,  I  ran,  I  found  him  out  of  breath, 
Pale,  trembling,  and  half  dead  with  fear  of  death. 
Though  he  had  judg'd  himself  by  his  own  laws, 
And  stood  condemn'd,  I  help'd  the  common  cause : 
With  my  broad  buckler  hid  him  from  the  foe         115 
(E'en  the  shield  trembled  as  he  lay  below), 
And  from  impending  fate  the  coward  freed; 
Good  heaven  forgive  me  for  so  bad  a  deed ! 
If  still  he  will  persist,  and  urge  the  strife, 
First  let  him  give  me  back  his  forfeit  life :  120 

Let  him  return  to  that  opprobrious  field; 
Again  creep  under  my  protecting  shield: 
Let  him  lie  wounded,  let  the  foe  be  near, 
And  let  his  quiv'ring  heart  confess  his  fear ; 
There  put  him  in  the  very  jaws  of  fate ;  12j 

And  let  him  plead  his  cause  in  that  estate : 
And  yet,  when  snatch'd  from  death,  when  from 

My  lifted  shield  I  loos'd,  and  let  him  go ; 
Good  heav'nsl  how  light  he  rose,  with  what  a  bound 
He  sprung  from  earth,  forgetful  of  his  wound;       130 


How  fresh,  how  eager  then  his  feet  to  ply' 
mo  had  not  strength  to  stand,  had  spe^d  'to  fly- 
Hector  came  on,  and  brought  the  gods  aW ' 
Fear  sexz'd  a,ike  the  feeble  and  the TrX  °  g> 

ESfe^CM^**  i4o 

AH  eyes  were  fix'd  on  me  :  the  lots  wfr  'thrown  - 
But  ior  your  champion  I  was  wish'd  alone  • 

YeTi  leZ^Ie  h6drd  ;-  W,e  fouSht' and  ^itber  yield  • 
Yet  I  return  d  unvanquish'd  from  the  field.  ' 

With  Jove  to  friend,  th>  insulting  Trojan  came        14. 

Was  rthaeC  ?  "  T^ V°rCe'  °Ur  fl-tJwhh7aeme.  ™ 
In  th  t  S!  frS      °f  thiS  t0ngue-^liant  lord, 
In  that  black  hour,  that  sav'd  you  from  the  sword  ? 
Or  was  my  breast  expos'd  alone  to  brave 
A  thousand  swords,  a  thousand  ships  to  save  t         150 
The  hopes  of  your  return !  and  can  you  yield  ' 

Th7ntTd  fet'IeSS  than  a  -^eshiefd?    ' 
Think  it  no  boast,  O  Grecians,  if  I  deem 

OrTwShSrnt  AJaX'  m°re  than  AJa*  them; 

Or,  I  with  them  an  equal  honour  share ;  155 

They  honour'd  to  be  worn,  and  I  to  wear. 

A?li^COmpare  my  C°Urase  with  his  height? 

As  wel  he  may  compare  the  day  with  night. 

Nigh  tu .indeed  the  province  of  his  reign: 

Yet  all  h13  dark  exploits  no  more  contain  160 

Than  a  spy  taken,  and  a  sleeper  slain- 

A  priest  made  pris'ner,  Pallas  made  a  prey  • 

But  none  of  all  these  actions  done  by  day' 

Nor  aught  of  these  was  done,  and  Diomede  away. 

If  on  such  petty  merits  you  confer  im 

So  vast  a  prize,  let  each  his  portion  share ; 

Make  a  just  dividend;  and  if  not  all 

1  he  greater  part  to  Diomede  will  fall 

But  why  for  Ithacus  such  arms  as  tho'se, 

Who  naked,  and  by  night,  invades  his  foes  ?  170 

The  lgaten?ngHKelm  by  m°°nligLt  wiU  P-Claim 
I  he  latent  robber,  and  prevent  his  game : 

BOOK  XIII.  327 

Nor  could  he  hold  his  tott'ring  head  upright, 

Beneath  that  morion,  or  sustain  the  weight ; 

Nor  that  right  arm  could  toss  the  beamy  lance :     175 

Much  less  the  left  that  ampler  shield  advance ; 

Pond'rous  with  precious  weight,  and  rough  with  cost 

Of  the  round  world  in  rising  gold  emboss 'd. 

That  orb  would  ill  become  his  hand  to  wield, 

And  look  as  for  the  gold  he  stole  the  shield;  180 

Which,  should  your  error  on  the  wretch  bestow, 

It  would  not  frighten,  but  allure  the  foe  ; 

Why  asks  he,  what  avails  him  not  in  fight, 

And  would  but  cumber  and  retard  his  flight, 

In  which  his  holy  excellence  is  plac'd?  185 

You  give  him  death,  that  intercept  his  haste. 

Add,  that  his  own  is  yet  a  maiden-shield, 

Nor  the  least  dint  has  suffer'd  in  the  field, 

Guiltless  of  fight:  mine,  batter'd,  hew'd,  and  bor'd, 

Worn  out  of  service,  must  forsake  his  lord.  190 

What  farther  need  of  words  our  right  to  scan  1 

My  arguments  are  deeds,  let  action  speak  the  man. 

Since  from  a  champion's  arms  the  strife  arose, 

So  cast  the  glorious  prize  amid  the  foes ; 

Then  send  us  to  redeem  both  arms  and  shield,       195 

And  let  him  wear,  who  wins  'em  in  the  field. 

He  said:  A  murmur  from  a  multitude, 
Or  somewhat  like  a  stifled  shout  ensu'd : 
Till  from  his  seat  arose  Laertes'  son , 
Look'd  down  awhile,  and  paus'd  ere  he  begun  ;      200 
Then  to  th'  expecting  audience  rais'd  his  look, 
And  not  without  prepar'd  attention  spoke: 
Soft  was  his  tone,  and  sober  was  his  face ; 
Action  his  words,  and  words  his  action  grace. 

If  Heav'n,  my  lords,  had  heard  our  common  pray'r, 
These  arms  had  caus'd  no  quarrel  for  an  heir ;        206 
Still  great  Achilles  had  his  own  possest, 
And  we  with  great  Achilles  had  been  blest; 
But  since  hard  fate,  and  Heav'n's  severe  decree, 
Have  ravish 'd  him  away  from  you  aud  me  210 

(At  this  he  sigh'd,  and  wip'd  his  eyes,  and  drew, 
Or  seem'd  to  draw,  some  drops  of  kindly  dew), 
Who  better  can  succeed  Achilles  lost, 
Than  he  who  gave  Achilles  to  your  host? 


This  only  I  request,  that  neither  he  215 

May  gain,  hy  heing  what  he  seems  to  be, 

A  stupid  thing;  nor  I  may  lose  the  prize, 

By  haying  sense,  which  Heav'n  to  him  denies  : 

Since,  great  or  small,  the  talent  I  enjoy'd 

Was  ever  in  the  common  cause  employ 'd.  220 

Nor  let  my  wit,  and  wonted  eloquence, 

Which  often  has  been  us'd  in  your  defence, 

And  in  my  own,  this  only  time  be  brought 

To  bear  against  myself,  and  deem'd  a  fault. 

Make  not  a  crime,  where  nature  made  it  none :      225 

For  ev'ry  man  may  freely  use  his  own. 

The  deeds  of  long  descended  ancestors 

Are  but  by  grace  of  imputation  ours, 

Theirs  in  effect :  but  since  he  draws  his  line 

From  Jove,  and  seems  to  plead  a  right  divine;        230 

From  Jove,  like  him,  I  claim  my  pedigree, 

And  am  descended  in  the  same  degree; 

My  sire  Laertes  was  Arcesius'  heir, 

Arcesius  was  the  son  of  Jupiter: 

No  parricide,  no  banish'd  man,  is  known  235 

In  all  my  line:  Let  him  excuse  his  own. 

Hermes  ennobles  too  my  mother's  side, 

By  both  my  parents  to  the  gods  allied: 

But  not  because  that  on  the  female  part 

My  blood  is  better  dare  I  claim  desert,  24ft 

Or  that  my  sire  from  parricide  is  free ; 

But  judge  by  merit,  betwixt  him  and  me : 

The  prize  be  to  the  best:  provided  yet 

That  Ajax  for  awhile  his  kin  forget, 

And  his  great  sire,  and  greater  uncle's  name,  245 

To  fortify  by  them  his  feeble  claim  : 

Be  kindred  and  relation  laid  aside, 

And  honour's  cause  by  laws  of  honour  tried: 

For  if  he  plead  proximity  of  blood, 

That  empty  title  is  with  ease  withstood.  250 

Peleus,  the  hero's  sire,  more  nigh  than  he, 

And  Pyrrhus,  his  undoubted  progeny, 

Inherit  first  these  trophies  of  the  field ; 

To  Scyros,  or  to  Pthia,  send  the  shield : 

And  Teucer  has  an  uncle's  right ;  yet  he  255 

Waves  his  pretensions,  nor  contends  with  me. 

BOOK  XIII.  329 

Then  since  the  cause  on  pure  desert  is  plac'd, 
Whence  shall  I  take  my  rise,  what  reckon  last? 
I  not  presume  on  ev'ry  act  to  dwell, 
But  take  these  few,  in  order  as  they  fell.  260 

Thetis,  who  knew  the  fates,  apply'd  her  care 
To  keep  Achilles  in  disguise  from  war; 
And  till  the  threat'ning  influence  was  past, 
A  woman's  habit  on  the  hero  cast : 
All  eyes  were  cozen'd  by  the  borrow'd  vest,  265 

And  Ajax  (never  wiser  than  the  rest) 
Found  no  Pelides  there  ;  at  length  I  came 
With  proffer'd  wares  to  this  pretended  dame ; 
She,  not  discover'd  by  her  mien,  or  voice, 
Betray'd  her  manhood  by  her  manly  choice ;  270 

And  while  on  female  toys  her  fellows  look, 
Grasp'd  in  her  warlike  hand  a  jav'lin  shook : 
Whom,  by  this  act  reveal'd,  I  thus  bespoke : 
O  goddess-bom!  resist  not  Heav'n's  decree, 
The  fall  of  Ilium  is  reserv'd  for  thee :  275 

Then  seiz'd  him,  and  produc'd  in  open  light, 
Sent  blushing  to  the  field  the  fatal  knight. 
Mine  then  are  all  his  actions  of  the  war; 
Great  Telephus  was  conquer'd  by  my  spear, 
And  after  cur'd :  To  me  the  Thebans  owe,  280 

Lesbos,  and  Tenedos,  their  overthrow ; 
Scyros  and  Cylla:  Not  on  all  to  dwell, 
By  me  Lyrnesus  and  strong  Chrysa  fell; 
And  since  I  sent  the  man  who  Hector  slew, 
To  me  the  noble  Hector's  death  is  due :  285 

Those  arms  I  put  into  his  living  hand, 
Those  arms,  Pelides  dead,  I  now  demand. 

When  Greece  was  injur'd  in  the  Spartan  prince, 
And  met  at  Aulis  to  avenge  th'  offence, 
'Twas  a  dead  calm,  or  adverse  blasts,  that  reign'd,  290 
And  in  the  port  the  wind-bound  fleet  detain'd ; 
Bad  signs  were  seen,  and  oracles  severe 
Were  daily  thunder'd  in  our  gen'ral's  ear; 
That  by  his  daughter's  blood  we  must  appease 
Diana's  kindled  wrath,  and  free  the  seas.  295 

Affection,  int'rest,  fame,  his  heart  assail'd: 
But  soon  the  father  o'er  the  king  prevail'd : 


Bold,  on  himself  he  took  the  pious  crime, 

As  angry  with  the  gods,  as  they  with  him. 

No  subject  could  sustain  their  sov'reign's  look,       300 

Till  this  hard  enterprize  I  undertook: 

I  only  durst  th'  imperial  pow'r  control, 

And  undermin'd  the  parent  in  his  soul; 

Forc'd  him  t'  exert  the  king  for  common  good, 

And  pay  our  ransom  with  his  daughter's  blood.      305 

Never  was  cause  more  difficult  to  plead, 

Than  where  the  judge  against  himself  decreed: 

Yet  this  I  won  by  dint  of  argument, 

The  wrongs  his  injur'd  brother  underwent, 

And  his  own  office  sham'd  him  to  consent.  310 

'Twas  harder  yet  to  move  the  mother's  mind, 
And  to  this  heavy  task  was  I  design'd: 
Reasons  against  her  love  I  knew  were  vain  ; 
1  circumvented,  whom  I  could  not  gain  : 
Had  Ajax  been  employ'd,  our  slacken'd  sails  315 

Had  still  at  Aulis  waited  happy  gales. 

Arriv'd  at  Troy,  your  choice  was  fix'd  on  me, 
A  fearless  envoy,  fit  for  a  bold  embassy; 
Secure,  I  enter'd  through  the  hostile  court, 
Glitt'ring  with  steel,  and  crowded  with  resort :        320 
There,  in  the  midst  of  arms,  I  plead  our  cause, 
Urge  the  foul  rape,  and  violated  laws ; 
Accuse  the  foes  as  authors  of  the  strife, 
Reproach  the  ravisher,  demand  the  wife. 
Priam,  Antenor,  and  the  wiser  few,  325 

I  mov'd;  but  Paris,  and  his  lav/less  crew, 
Scarce  held  their  hands,  and  lifted  swords;  but  stood 
In  act  to  quench  their  impious  thirst  of  blood: 
This,  Menelaiis  knows;  expos'd  to  share 
With  me  the  rough  preludium  of  the  war.  330 

Endless  it  were  to  tell  what  I  have  done, 
In  arms,  or  council,  since  the  siege  begun; 
The  first  encounter  past,  the  foe  repell'd, 
They  skulk'd  within  the  town,  we  kept  the  field. 
War  seem'd  asleep  for  nine  long  years;  at  length  335 
Both  sides  resolv'd  to  push,  we  try'd  our  strength. 
Now,  what  did  Ajax,  while  our  arms  took  breath, 
Vers'd  only  in  the  gross  mechanic  trade  of  death? 

BOOK  XIII.  331 

If  you  require  my  deeds;  with  ambush 'd  arms 

I  trapp'd  the  foe,  or  tir'd  with  false  alarms  ;  340 

Secur'd  the  ships,  drew  lines  along  the  plain, 

The  fainting  cheer'd,  chastis'd  the  rebel-train, 

Provided  forage,  our  spent  arms  renew'd;      [pursu'd. 

Employ'd  at  home,  or  sent  abroad,  the  common  cause 

The  king,  deluded  in  a  dream  by  Jove,  345 

Despair'd  to  take  the  town,  and  order'd  to  remove. 
What  subject  durst  arraign  the  pow'r  supreme, 
Producing  Jove  to  justify  his  dream? 
Ajax  might  wish  the  soldiers  to  retain 
From  shameful  flight,  but  wishes  were  in  vain :      350 
As  wanting  of  effect  has  been  his  words, 
Such  as  of  course  his  thund'ring  tongue  affords. 
But  did  this  boaster  threaten,  did  he  pray, 
Or  by  his  own  example  urge  their  stay  ? 
None,  none  of  these,  but  ran  himself  away.  355 

I  saw  him  run,  and  was  asham'd  to  see ; 
Who  ply'd  his  feet  so  fast  to  get  aboard  as  he? 
Then  speeding  through  the  place,  I  made  a  stand, 
And  loudly  cry'd,  O  base,  degen'rate  band, 
To  leave  a  town  already  in  your  hand !  360 

After  so  long  expense  of  blood,  for  fame, 
To  bring  home  nothing,  but  perpetual  shame ! 
These  words,  or  what  I  have  forgotten  since 
(For  grief  inspir'd  me  then  with  eloquence), 
Reduc'd  their  minds ;  they  leave  the  crowded  port,  365 
And  to  their  late-forsaken  camp  resort : 
Dismay'd,  the  council  met,  this  man  was  there, 
But  mute,  and  not  recover'd  of  his  fear  : 
Thersites  tax'd  the  king,  and  loudly  rail'd, 
But  his  wide  op'ning  mouth  with  blows  I  seal'd.    370 
Then,  rising,  I  excite  their  souls  to  fame, 
And  kindle  sleeping  virtue  into  flame. 
From  thence,  whatever  he  perform'd  in  fight 
Is  justly  mine,  who  drew  him  back  from  flight. 

Which  of  the  Grecian  chiefs  consorts  with  thee  ?  375 
But  Diomede  desires  my  company, 
And  still  communicates  his  praise  with  me. 
As  guided  by  a  god,  secure  he  goes, 
Arm'd  with  my  fellowship  amid  the  foes ; 
And  sure  no  little  merit  I  may  boast,  380 


Whom  such  a  man  selects  from  such  an  host  : 

Unforc'd  by  lots  I  went,  without  affright, 

To  dare  with  him  the  dangers  of  the  night : 

On  the  same  errand  sent,  we  met  the  spy 

Of  Hector,  double -ton  gu'd,  and  us'd  to  lie;  385 

Him  I  dispatch'd,  but  not  till  undermin'd 

1  drew  him  first  to  tell,  what  treach'rous  Troy  de- 

My  task  perform'd,  with  praise  I  had  retir'd,  [sign'd: 

But  not  content  with  this,  to  greater  praise  aspir'd : 

Invaded  Rhesus,  and  his  Thracian  crew,  390 

And  him,  and  his,  in  their  own  strength  I  slew. 

Return'd  a  victor,  all  my  vows  complete, 

With  the  king's  chariot,  in  his  royal  seat 

Refuse  me  now  his  arms,  whose  fiery  steeds 

Were  promis'd  to  the  spy  for  his  nocturnal  deeds :  395 

Yet  let  dull  Ajax.  bear  away  my  right, 

When  all  his  days  out-balance  this  one  night. 

Nor  fought  I  darkling  still:  the  sun  beheld 
With  slaughter'd  Lycians  when  I  strew'd  the  field: 
You  saw,  and  counted  as  I  pass'd  along  400 

Alastor,  Chromius,  Ceranos  the  strong, 
Alcander,  Prytanis,  and  Halius, 
Nbemon,  Charopes,  and  Ennomus; 
Coon,  Chersidamas;  and  five  beside, 
Men  of  obscure  descent,  but  courage  tried ;  405 

All  these  this  hand  laid  breathless  on  the  ground: 
Nor  want  I  proofs  of  many  a  manly  wound; 
All  honest,  all  before:   Believe  not  me; 
Words  may  deceive,  but  credit  what  you  see. 

At  this  he  bar'd  his  breast,  and  shew'd  his  scars, 
As  of  a  furrow'd  field  well  plough'd  with  wars;      411 
Nor  is  this  part  unexercis'd,  said  he  : 
That  giant  bulk  of  his  from  wounds  is  free : 
Safe  in  his  shield  he  fears  no  foe  to  try, 
And  better  manages  his  blood  than  1 :  415 

But  thus  avails  me  not ;  our  boaster  strove 
Not  with  our  foes  alone,  but  partial  Jove, 
To  save  the  fleet :  This,  I  confess,  is  true 
( Nor  will  I  take  from  any  man  his  due) : 
But  thus  assuming  all,  he  robs  from  you.  420 

Some  part  of  honour  to  your  share  will  fall ; 
He  did  the  best  indeed,  but  did  not  all. 

BOOK  XIII.  333 

Patroclus  ia  Achilles'  arms,  and  thought 
The  chief  he  seem'd,  with  equal  ardour  fought ; 
Preserv'd  the  fleet,  repell'd  the  raging  fire,  425 

And  forc'd  the  fearful  Trojans  to  retire. 

But  Ajax  boasts  that  he  was  only  thought 
A  match  for  Hector,  who  the  combat  sought : 
Sure  he  forgets  the  king,  the  chiefs,  and  me ; 
All  were  as  eager  for  the  fight  as  he:  430 

He  but  the  ninth,  and  not  by  public  voice, 
Or  ours  preferr'd,  was  only  fortune's  choice : 
They  fought;  nor  can  our  hero  boast  th'  event, 
For  Hector  from  the  field  un wounded  went. 

Why  am  I  forc'd  to  name  that  fatal  day,  435 

That  snatch'd  the  prop  and  pride  of  Greece  away  ? 
I  saw  P  elides  sink,  with  pious  grief, 
And  ran  in  vain,  alas !  to  his  relief: 
For  the  brave  soul  was  fled  :  Full  of  my  friend 
I  rush'd  amidst  the  war,  his  relics  to  defend :  440 

Nor  ceas'd  my  toil,  till  I  redeem'd  the  prey, 
And  loaded  with  Achilles  march'd  away: 
Tho3e  amis,  which  on  these  shoulders  then  I  bore, 
'Tis  just  you  to  these  shoulders  should  restore. 
You  see  I  want  not  nerves,  who  could  sustain        445 
The  pond'rous  ruins  of  so  great  a  man : 
Or  if  in  others  equal  force  you  find, 
None  is  endu'd  with  a  more  grateful  mind. 

Did  Thetis  then,  ambitious  in  her  care, 
These  arms  thus  labour'd  for  her  son  prepare,         450 
That  Ajax  after  him  the  heav'nly  gift  should  wear ! 
For  that  dull  soul  to  stare,  with  stupid  eyes, 
On  the  learn'd  unintelligible  prize  ! 
What  are  to  him  the  sculptures  of  the  shield, 
Heav'n's  planets,  earth,  and  ocean's  wat'ry  field?  455 
The  Pleiads,  Hyads  ;  less  and  greater  Bear, 
Undipp'd  in  seas:  Orion's  angry  star; 
Two  dhTring  cities,  grav'd  on  either  hand ; 
Would  he  wear  arms  he  cannot  understand? 

Beside,  what  wise  objections  he  prepares  460 

Against  my  late  accession  to  the  wars! 
Does  not  the  fool  perceive  his  argument 
Is  with  more  force  against  Achilles  bent? 
For  if  dissembling  be  so  great  a  crime, 


The  fault  is  common,  and  the  same  in  him  :  405 

And  if  he  taxes  both  of  long  delay, 

My  guilt  is  less,  who  sooner  came  away. 

His  pious  mother,  anxious  for  his  life, 

Detain'd  her  son,  and  me,  my  pious  wife. 

To  them  the  blossoms  of  our  youth  were  due,  470 

Our  riper  manhood  we  reserv'd  for  you. 

But  grant  me  guilty,  'tis  not  much  ray  care, 

When  with  so  great  a  man  my  guilt  I  share : 

My  wit  to  war  the  matchless  hero  brought, 

But  by  this  fool  I  never  had  been  caught.  475 

Nor  need  I  wonder,  that  on  me  he  threw 
Such  foul  aspersions,  when  he  spares  not  you  : 
If  Palamede  unjustly  fell  by  me, 
Your  honour  suffer'd  in  th'  unjust  decree : 
I  but  accus'd,  you  doom'd:  And  yet  he  died,  480 

Convict  of  treason,  and  was  fairly  tried : 
You  heard  not  he  was  false  ;  your  eyes  beheld 
The  traitor  manifest ;  the  bribe  reveal'd. 

That  Philoctetes  is  on  Lemnos  left, 
Wounded,  forlorn,  of  human  aid  bereft,  485 

Is  not  my  crime,  or  not  my  crime  alone ; 
Defend  your  justice,  for  the  fact's  your  own  : 
'Tis  true,  th'  advice  was  mine;  that  staying  there 
He  might  his  weary  limbs  with  rest  repair, 
From  a  long  voyage  free,  and  from  a  longer  war.   490 
He  took  the  counsel,  and  he  lives  at  least; 
Th'  event  declares  I  counsell'd  for  the  best; 
Though  faith  is  all  in  ministers  of  state ; 
For  who  can  promise  to  be  fortunate  ? 
Now,  since  his  arrows  are  the  fate  of  Troy,  495 

Do  not  my  wit,  or  weak  address  employ; 
Send  Ajax  there,  with  his  persuasive  sense, 
To  mollify  the  man,  and  draw  him  thence: 
But  Xanthus  shall  run  backward ;  Ida  stand 
A  leafless  mountain;  and  the  Grecian  band  500 

Shall  fight  for  Troy;  if,  when  my  counsels  fail, 
The  wit  of  heavy  Ajax  can  prevail. 

Hard  Philoctetes,  exercise  thy  spleen 
Against  thy  fellows,  and  the  king  of  men; 
Curse  my  devoted  head,  above  the  rest,  505 

And  wish  in  arms  to  meet  me  breast  to  breast; 

BOOK  XIII.  335 

Yet  I  the  dangerous  task  will  undertake, 
And  either  die  myself,  or  bring  thee  back. 

Nor  doubt  the  same  success,  as  when  before 
The  Phrygian  prophet  to  these  tents  I  bore,  510 

Surpris'd  by  night,  and  forc'd  him  to  declare 
In  what  was  plac'd  the  fortune  of  the  war, 
Heav'n's  dark  decrees  and  answers  to  display, 
And  how  to  take  the  town,  and  where  the  secret  lay: 
Yet  this  I  compass'd,  and  from  Troy  convey'd        515 
The  fatal  image  of  fheir  guardian-maid : 
That  work  was  mine,  for  Pallas,  though  our  friend, 
Yet  while  she  was  in  Troy,  did  Troy  defend. 
Now  what  has  Ajax  done,  or  what  design'd? 
A  noisy  nothing,  and  an  empty  wind.  520 

If  he  be  what  he  promises  in  show, 
Why  was  I  sent,  and  why  fear'd  he  to  go? 
Our  boasting  champion  thought  the  task  not  light 
To  pass  the  guards,  commit  himself  to  night: 
Not  only  through  a  hostile  town  to  pass,  525 

But  scale,  with  steep  ascent,  the  sacred  place: 
With  wand'ring  steps  to  search  the  citadel, 
And  from  the  priests  their  patroness  to  steal ; 
Then  through  surrounding  foes  to  force  my  way, 
And  bear  in  triumph  home  the  heav'nly  prey ;        530 
Which  had  I  not,  Ajax  in  vain  had  held, 
Before  that  monstrous  bulk  his  sev'n-fold  shield. 
That  night  to  conquer  Troy  I  might  be  said, 
When  Troy  was  liable  to  conquest  made. 

Why  point'st  thou  to  my  partner  of  the  war  ?      535 
Tydides  had  indeed  a  worthy  share 
In  all  my  toil,  and  praise  ;  but  when  thy  might 
Oar  ships  protected,  didst  thou  singly  tight? 
All  join'd,  and  thou  of  many  wert  but  one  ; 
I  ask'd  no  friend,  nor  had,  but  him  alone :'  540 

Who,  had  he  not  been  well  assur'd,  that  art, 
And  conduct,  were  of  war  the  better  part, 
And  more  avail'd  than  strength,  my  valiant  friend 
Had  urg'd  a  better  right  than  Ajax  can  pretend; 
As  good  at  least  Euripylus  may  claim,  545 

And  the  more  mod'rate  Ajax  of  the  name  : 
The  Cretan  king,  and  his  brave  charioteer, 
And  Menelaus  bold  with  sword  and  spear: 


All  these  had  been  my  rivals  in  the  shield, 

And  yet  all  these  to  my  pretensions  yield.  550 

Thy  boist'rous  hands  are  then  of  use,  when  I 

With  this  directing  head,  those  hands  apply. 

Brawn  without  brain  is  thine  :  My  prudent  care 

Foresees,  provides,  administers  the  war: 

Thy  province  is  to  fight;  but  when  shall  be  555 

The  time  to  fight,  the  king  consults  with  me : 

No  dram  of  judgment  with  thy  force  is  join 'd; 

Thy  body  is  of  profit,  and  my  mind. 

By  how  much  more  the  ship  her  safety  owes 

To  him  who  steers,  than  him  that  only  rows,  560 

By  how  much  more  the  captain  merits  praise, 

Than  he  who  fights,  and  fighting  but  obeys; 

By  so  much  greater  is  my  worth  than  thine, 

Who  canst  but  execute,  what  I  design. 

What  gain'st  thou,  brutal  man,  if  I  confess  565 

Thy  strength  superior,  when  thy  wit  is  less? 

Mind  is  the  man ;  I  claim  my  whole  desert 

From  the  mind's  vigour,  and  th'  immortal  part. 

But  you,  0  Grecian  chiefs,  reward  my  care, 
Be  grateful  to  your  watchman  of  the  war:  570 

For  all  my  labours  in  so  long  a  space 
Sure  I  may  plead  a  title  to  your  grace  : 
Enter  the  town ;  I  then  unbarr'd  the  gates, 
When  I  remov'd  their  tutelary  fates. 
By  all  our  common  hopes,  if  hopes  they  be,  575 

Which  I  have  now  reduc'd  to  certainty; 
By  falling  Troy,  by  yonder  tott'ring  tow'rs, 
And  by  their  taken  gods,  which  now  are  ours; 
Or  if  there  yet  a  farther  task  remains, 
To  be  perform'd  by  prudence,  or  by  pains ;  580 

If  yet  some  desp'rate  action  rests  behind, 
That  asks  high  conduct,  and  a  dauntless  mind ; 
If  aught  be  wanting  to  the  Trojan  doom, 
Which  none  but  I  can  manage  and  o'ercome, 
Award,  those  arms  I  ask,  by  your  decree:  585 

Or  give  to  this,  what  you  refuse  to  me. 

He  ceas'd:  And  ceasing,  with  respect  he  bow'd, 
And  with  his  hand  at  onre  the  fatal  statue  shewM. 
Heav'n,  air,  and  ocean  rung  with  loud  applause, 
Led  by  the  gen'ral  vote,  he  gaiu'd  his  cause.  590 

BOOK  XIII.  337 

Thus  conduct  won  the  prize,  when  courage  fail'd, 
And  eloquence  o'er  brutal  force  prevail'd. 

He  who  could  often,  and  alone  withstand 
The  foe,  the  fire,  and  Jove's  own  partial  hand, 
Now  cannot  his  unmaster'd  grief  sustain,  595 

But  yields  to  rage,  to  madness,  and  disdain ; 
Then  snatching  out  his  falchion,  Thou  (said  he) 
Art  mine ;  Ulysses  lays  no  claim  to  thee. 
O  often  try'd,  and  ever-trusty  sword, 
Now  do  thy  last  kind  office  to  thy  lord;  GOO 

'Tis  Ajax,  who  requests  thy  aid,  to  shew 
None  but  himself  himself  could  overthrow. 
He  said,  and  with  so  good  a  will  to  die, 
Did  to  his  breast  the  fatal  point  apply. 
It  found  his  heart,  a  way  till  then  unknown  605 

Where  never  weapon  enter'd  but  his  own. 
No  hands  could  force  it  thence,  so  fix'd  it  stood, 
Till  out  it  rush'd,  expell'd  by  streams  of  spouting 

The  fruitful  blood  produc'd  a  flow'r,  which  grew 
On  a  green  stem,  and  of  a  purple  hue :  610 

Like  his,  whom,  unaware,  Apollo  slew  : 
Inscrib'd  in  both,  the  letters  are  the  same, 
But  those  express  the  grief,  and  these  the  name. 

The  victor  with  full  sails  for  Lemnos  stood 
(Once  stain  1  by  matrons  with  their  husband's  blood), 
Thence  great  Alcides'  fatal  shafts  to  bear,  61G 

Assign'd  to  Philoctetes'  secret  care. 
These  with  their  guardian  to  the  Greeks  convey'd, 
Their  ten  years'  toil  with  wish'd  success  repaid. 
With  Troy  old  Priam  falls;  his  queen  survives ;      620 
Till  all  her  woes  complete,  transform'd  she  grieves 
In  borrow'd  sounds,  nor  with  a  human  face, 
Barking  tremendous  o'er  the  plains  of  Thrace. 
Still  Ilium's  flames  their  pointed  columns  raise, 
And  the  red  Hellespont  reflects  the  blaze.  625 

Shed  on  Jove's  altar  are  the  poor  remains 
Of  blood,  which  trickled  from  old  Priam's  veins. 
Cassandra  lifts  her  hands  to  heav'n  in  vain, 
Dragg'd  by  her  sacred  hair ;  the  trembling  train 
Of  matrons  to  their  burning  temples  fly:  €30 



There  to  their  gods  for  kind  protection  cry ; 
And  to  their  statues  cling,  till  forc'd  away, 
The  victor  Greeks  bear  off  th'  invidious  prey. 
From  those  high  tow'rs  Astyanax  is  thrown, 
Whence  he  was  wont  with  pleasure  to  look  down, 
When  oft  his  mother,  with  a  fond  delight,  630 

Pointed  to  view  his  father's  rage  in  fight, 
To  win  renown,  and  guard  his  country's  right. 

The  winds  now  call  to  sea  ;  brisk  northern  gales 
Sing  in  the  shrouds,  and  court  the  spreading  sails. 
Farewell,  dear  Troy  !  the  captive  matrons  cry  ;      641 
Yes,  we  must  leave  our  long-lov'd  native  sky. 
Then  prostrate  on  the  shore  they  kiss  the  sand, 
And  quit  the  smoking  ruins  of  the  land. 
Last,  Hecuba,  on  board  (sad  sight!)  appears  ;  645 

Found  weeping  o'er  her  children's  sepulchres  : 
Dragg'd  by  Ulysses  from  her  slaughter'd  sons, 
Whilst  yet  she  grasp'd  their  tombs,  and  kiss'd  their 

mould'ring  bones. 
Yet  Hector's  ashes  from  his  urn  she  bore, 
And  in  her  bosom  the  sad  relic  wore  :  650 

Then  scatter'd  on  his  tomb  her  hoary  hairs, 
A  poor  oblation,  mingled  with  her  tears. 

Oppos'd  to  Ilium  lie  the  Thracian  plains, 
Where  Polymestor  safe  in  plenty  reigns. 
King  Priam  to  his  care  commits  his  son,  655 

Young  Polydore,  the  chance  of  war  to  shun. 
A  wise  precaution !  had  not  gold  consign'd, 
For  the  child's  use,  debauch'd  the  tyrant's  mind. 
When  sinking  Troy  to  its  last  period  drew, 
With  impious  hands  his  royal  charge  he  slew;        660 
Then  in  the  sea  his  lifeless  corse  is  thrown; 
As  with  the  body  he  the  guilt  could  drown. 

The  Greeks  now  riding  on  the  Thracian  shore, 
Till  kinder  gales  invite,  their  vessels  moor. 
Here  the  wide  op'ning  earth  to  sudden  view  665 

Disclos'd  Achilles,  great  as  when  he  drew 
The  vital  air,  but  fierce  with  proud  disdain, 
As  when  he  sought  Briseis  to  regain ; 
When  stern  debate,  and  rash  injurious  strife 
Unsheath'd  his  sword,  to  reach  Atrides'  life.  670 

BOOK  XIII.  339 

And  will  ye  go?  he  said.    Is  then  the  name 

Of  the  once  great  Achilles  lost  to  fame? 

Yet  stay,  ungrateful  Greeks;  nor  let  me  sue 

In  vain  for  honours  to  my  manes  due. 

For  this  just  end,  Polyxena  I  doom  675 

With  victim  rites  to  grace  my  slighted  tomh. 

The  phantom  spoke ;  the  ready  Greeks  obey'd, 
And  to  the  tomb  led  the  devoted  maid, 
Snatch'd  from  her  mother,  who  with  pious  care 
Cherish'd  this  last  relief  of  her  despair.  680 

Superior  to  her  sex,  the  fearless  maid 
Approach'd  the  altar,  and  around  survey'd 
The  cruel  rites,  and  consecrated  knife, 
Which  Pyrrhus  pointed  at  her  guiltless  life ; 
Then  as  with  stern  amaze  intent  he  stood,  685 

Now  strike  (she  said),  now  spill  my  gen'rous  blood; 
Deep  in  my  breast,  or  throat,  your  dagger  sheath, 
While  thus  I  stand  prepar'd  to  meet  my  death; 
For  life  on  terms  of  slav'ry  I  despise : 
Yet  sure  no  god  approves  this  sacrifice.  690 

O,  could  I  but  conceal  this  dire  event, 
From  my  sad  mother,  I  should  die  content ! 
Yet  should  she  not  with  tears  my  death  deplore, 
Since  her  own  wretched  life  demands  them  more. 
But  let  not  the  rude  touch  of  man  pollute  695 

A  virgin  victim  ;  'tis  a  modest  suit : 
It  best  will  please  whoe'er  demands  my  blood, 
That  I  untainted  reach  the  Stygian  flood. 
Yet  let  one  short,  last,  dying  pray'r  be  heard ; 
To  Priam's  daughter  pay  this  last  regard;  700 

'Tis  Priam's  daughter,  not  a  captive  sues ; 
Do  not  the  rites  of  sepulture  refuse. 
T©  my  afflicted  mother,  I  implore, 
Free  without  ransom  my  dead  corse  restore : 
Nor  barter  me  for  gain  when  I  am  cold  ;  705 

But  be  her  tears  the  price  if  I  am  sold : 
Time  was  she  could  have  ransom'd  me  with  gold. 

Thus  as  she  pray'd,  one  common  show'r  of  tears 
Burst  forth  and  stream'd  from  ev'ry  eye  but  hers. 
E'en  the  priest  wept,  and  with  a  rude  remorse,      710 
Plung'd  in  her  heart  the  steel's  resistless  force. 


Her  slackened  limbs  sunk  gently  to  the  ground, 
Dauntless  her  looks,  unalter'd  by  the  wound. 
And  as  she  fell,  she  strove  with  decent  pride 
To  hide  what  suits  a  virgin's  care  to  hide.  715 

The  Trojan  matrons  the  pale  corse  receive, 
And  the  whole  slaughter'd  race  of  Priam  grieve. 
Sad  they  recount  the  long  disastrous  tale ; 
Then  with  fresh  tears,  thee,  royal  maid,  bewail: 
Thy  widow'd  mother  too,  who  ftourish'd  late,         720 
The  royaJ  pride  of  Asia's  happier  state: 
A  captive  lot  now  to  Ulysses  borne; 
Whom  yet  the  victor  would  reject  with  scorn, 
Were  she  not  Hector's  mother :  Hector's  fame 
Scarce  can  a  master  for  his  mother  claim!  725 

With  strict  embrace  the  lifeless  corse  she  view'd ; 
And  her  fresh  grief  that  flood  of  tears  renew'd, 
With  which  she  lately  mourn'd  so  many  dead; 
Tears  for  her  country,  sons,  and  husband  shed.      729 
With  the  thick  gushing  stream  shebath'd  the  wound; 
Kiss'd  her  pale  lips  ;  then  welt'ring  on  the  ground, 
With  wonted  rage  her  frantic  bosom  tore; 
Sweeping  her  hair  amidst  the  clotted  gore; 
Whilst  her  sad  accents  thus  her  loss  deplore : 

Behold  a  mother's  last  dear  pledge  of  woe!         735 
Yes,  'tis  the  last  I  have  to  suffer  now. 
Thou,  my  Polyxena,  my  ills  must  crown : 
Already  in  thy  fate  I  feel  my  own. 
'Tis  thus,  lest  haply  of  my  num'rous  seed 
One  should  unslaughter'd  fall,  even  thou  must  bleed. 
And  yet  I  hop'd  thy  sex  had  been  thy  guard ;         741 
But  neither  has  thy  tender  sex  been  spar'd. 
The  same  Achilles,  by  whose  deadly  hate 
Thy  brothers  fell,  urg'd  thy  untimely  fate ! 
The  same  Achilles,  whose  destructive  rage  745 

Laid  waste  my  realms,  has  robb'd  my  childless  age  ! 
When  Paris'  shafts  with  Phoebus'  certain  aid 
At  length  had  pierc'd  this  dreadful  chief,  I  said, 
Secure  of  future  ills,  He  can  no  more  : — 
But  see  he  still  pursues  me  as  before.  750 

With  rage  rekindled  his  dead  ashes  burn ; 
And  his  yet  murd'ring  ghost  my  wretched  house 
must  mourn. 

BOOK  XIII.  341 

This  tyrant's  lust  of  slaughter  I  have  fed 
With  large  supplies  from  my  too  fruitful  bed. 
Troy's  tow'rs  lie  waste  ;  and  the  wide  ruin  ends    755 
The  public  woe  :  but  me  fresh  woe  attends. 
Troy  still  survives  to  me  ;  to  none  but  me  ; 
And  from  its  ills  I  never  must  be  free. 
I,  who  so  late  had  pow'r,  and  wealth,  and  ease, 
Bless'd  with  my  husband,  and  a  large  increase,      760 
Must  now  in  poverty  and  exile  mourn ; 
E'en  from  the  tombs  of  my  dead  offspring  torn  : 
Giv'n  to  Penelope,  who  proud  of  spoil, 
Allots  me  to  the  loom's  ungrateful  toil ; 
Points  to  her  dames,  and  cries  with  scorning  mien, 
See  Hector's  mother,  and  great  Priam's  queen !     766 
And  thou,  my  child,  sole  hope  of  all  that's  lost, 
Thou  now  art  slain  to  soothe  this  hostile  ghost. 
Yes ;  my  child  falls  an  off'ring  to  my  foe  ! 
Then  what  am  I  who  still  survive  this  woe  ?  770 

Say,  cruel  gods  !  for  what  new  scenes  of  death 
Must  a  poor  aged  wretch  prolong  this  hated  breath? 
Troy  fall'n,  to  whom  could  Priam  happy  seem? 
Yet  was  he  so ;  and  happy  must  I  deem 
His  death  ;  for  O  !  my  child,  he  saw  not  thine,      775 
When  he  his  life  did  with  his  Troy  resign. 
Yet  sure,  due  obsequies  thy  tomb  might  grace ; 
And  thou  shalt  sleep  amidst  thy  kingly  race. 
Alas!  my  child,  such  fortune  does  not  wait 
Our  sufPring  house  in  this  abandon'd  state ;  780 

A  foreign  grave,  and  thy  poor  mother's  tears, 
Are  all  the  honours  that  attend  thy  hearse. 
All  now  is  lost! — Yet  no;  one  comfort  more 
Of  life  remains,  my  much-lov'd  Polydore, 
My  youngest  hope :  Here  on  this  coast  he  lives,     785 
Nurs'd  by  the  guardian  king  he  still  survives. 
Then  let  me  hasten  to  the  cleansing  flood, 
And  wash  away  these  stains  of  guiltless  blood. 
Straight  to  the  shore  her  feeble  steps  repair 
With  limping  pace,  and  torn  dishevell'd  hair  790 

Silver'd  with  age.     '  Give  me  an  urn  (she  cry'd), 
To  bear  back  water  from  this  swelling  tide  :' — 
When  on  the  banks  her  son,  in  ghastly  hue, 
Transfixt  with  Thracian  arrows,  strikes  her  view. 


The  matron  shriek'd;  her  big-swoln  grief  surpass M 

The  pow'r  of  utterance  ;  she  stood  aghast ;  796 

She  had  nor  speech  nor  tears  to  give  relief; 

Excess  of  woe  suppress'd  the  rising  grief. 

Lifeless  as  stone,  on  earth  she  fix'd  her  eyes, 

And  then  look'd  up  to  heav'n  with  wild  surprise.    800 

Now  she  contemplates  o'er  with  sad  delight 

Her  son's  pale  visage ;  then  her  aching  sight 

Dwells  on  his  wounds  :  She  varies  thus  by  turns, 

Till  with  collected  rage  at  length  she  burns, 

Wild  as  the  mother  lion, when  among  805 

The  haunts  of  prey  she  seeks  her  ravish'd  young : 

Swift  flies  the  ravisher  ;  she  marks  his  trace, 

And  by  the  print  directs  her  anxious  chace. 

So  Hecuba,  with  mingled  grief  and  rage, 

Pursues  the  king,  regardless  of  her  age;  810 

She  greets  the  murd'rer  with  dissembled  joy, 

Of  secret  treasure  hoarded  for  her  boy. 

The  specious  tale  th'  unwary  king  betray'd, 

Fir'd  with  the  hopes  of  prey:  Give  quick  (he  said, 

With  soft  enticing  speech)  the  promis'd  store  :        815 

Whate'er  you  give,  you  give  to  Polydore. 

Your  son,  by  the  immortal  gods  I  swear, 

Shall  this  with  all  your  former  bounty  share. 

She  stands  attentive  to  his  soothing  lies, 

And  darts  avenging  horror  from  her  eyes.  820 

Then  full  resentment  tires  her  boiling  blood: 

She  springs  upon  him  'midst  the  captive  crowd 

(Her  thirst  of  vengeance  want  of  strength  supplies)  ; 

Fastens  her  forky  fingers  in  his  eyes; 

Tears  out  the  rooted  balls  ;  her  rage  pursues,  825 

And  in  the  hollow  orbs  her  hand  imbrues. 

The  Thracians,  fir'd  at  this  inhuman  scene, 
With  darts  and  stones  assail  the  frantic  queen. 
She  snarls  and  growls,  nor  in  a  human  tone; 
Then  bites  impatient  at  the  bounding  stone ;  830 

Extends  her  jaws,  as  she  her  voice  would  raise 
To  keen  invectives  in  her  wonted  phrase ; 
But  barks,  and  thence  the  yelping  brute  betrays. 
Still  a  sad  monument  the  place  remains,  834 

And  from  this  monstrous  change  its  name  obtains : 
Where  she  in  long  remembrance  of  her  ills, 

BOOK  XIII.  343 

With  plaintive  howlings  the  wide  desert  fills, 

Greeks,  Trojans,  friends  and  foes,  and  gods  above, 
Her  num'rous  wrongs  to  just  compassion  move; 
E'en  Juno's  self  forgets  her  ancient  hate,  840 

And  owns  she  had  deserv'd  a  milder  fate. 

Yet  bright  Aurora,  partial  as  she  was 
To  Troy  and  those  that  lov'd  the  Trojan  cause, 
Nor  Troy,  nor  Hecuba  can  now  bemoan, 
But  weeps  a  sad  misfortune,  more  her  own.  845 

Her  offspring  Memnon,  by  Achilles  slain, 
She  saw  extended  on  the  Phrygian  plain  : 
She  saw,  and  straight  the  purple  beams,  that  grace 
The  rosy  morning,  vanish'd  from  her  face  : 
A  deadly  pale  her  wonted  bloom  invades,  850 

And  veils  the  low'ring  skies  with  mournful  shades. 
But  when  his  limbs  upon  the  pile  were  laid, 
The  last  kind  duty  that  by  friends  is  paid, 
His  mother  to  the  skies  directs  her  flight, 
Nor  could  sustain  to  view  the  doleful  sight ;  855 

But  frantic,  with  her  loose  neglected  hair, 
Hastens  to  Jove  and  falls  a  suppliant  there. — 
O  king  of  heav'n,  O  father  of  the  skies 
(The  weeping  goddess  passionately  cries), 
Though  I  the  meanest  of  immortals  am,  860 

And  fewest  temples  celebrate  my  fame; 
Yet  still  a  goddess  I  presume  to  come, 
Within  the  verge  of  your  ethereal  dome  ; 
Yet  still  may  plead  some  merit,  if  my  light 
With  purple  dawn  controls  the  pow'rs  of  night ;     865 
If  from  a  female  hand  that  virtue  springs, 
Which  to  the  gods,  and  men  such  pleasure  brings, 
Yet  I  nor  honour  seek,  nor  rites  divine, 
Nor  for  more  altars,  or  more  fanes  repine; 
O !  that  such  trifles  were  the  only  cause,  870 

From  whence  Aurora's  mind  its  anguish  draws ! 
For  Memnon  lost,  my  dearest  only  child, 
With  weightier  grief  my  heavy  heart  is  fill'd ; 
My  warrior  son !  that  liv'd  but  half  his  time, 
Nipp'd  in  the  bud,  and  blasted  in  his  prime ;  875 

Who  for  his  uncle  early  took  the  field, 
And  by  Achilles'  fatal  spear  was  kill'd. 


To  whom  but  Jove  should  I  for  succour  come  ? 

For  Jove  alone  could  fix  his  cruel  doom. 

O  sov'reign  of  the  gods,  accept  my  pray'r,  880 

Grant  my  request,  and  soothe  a  mother's  care : 

On  the  deceas'd  some  solemn  boon  bestow, 

To  expiate  the  loss,  and  ease  my  woe. 

Jove,  with  a  nod,  coinply'd  with  her  desire ; 
Around  the  body  flam'd  the  fun'ral  fire  ;  885 

The  pile  decreas'd,  that  lately  seem'd  so  high, 
And  sheets  of  smoke  roll'd  upwards  to  the  sky : 
As  humid  vapours  from  a  marshy  bog, 
Rise  by  degrees,  condensing  into  fog. 
That  intercept  the  sun's  enliv'ning  ray,  890 

And  with  a  cloud  infect  the  cheerful  day. 
The  sooty  ashes  wafted  by  the  air, 
Whirl  round,  and  thicken  in  a  body  there  ; 
Then  take  a  form  which  their  own  heat  and  fire, 
With  active  life  and  energy  inspire.  895 

Its  lightness  makes  it  seem  to  fly,  and  soon 
It  skims  on  real  wings  that  are  its  own ; 
A  real  bird,  it  beats  the  breezy  wind, 
Mix'd  with  a  thousand  sisters  of  the  kind, 
That  from  the  same  formation  newly  sprung,  900 

Up-borne  aloft  on  plumy  pinions  hung. 
Thrice  round  the  pile  advanc'd  the  circling  throng, 
Thrice,  with  their  wings,  a  whizzing  concert  rung : 
In  their  fourth  flight  their  squadron  they  divide, 
RankM  in  two  different  troops,  on  either  side  :         905 
Then  two,  and  two,  inspir'd  with  martial  rage, 
From  either  troop  in  equal  pairs  engage. 
Each  combatant  with  beak  and  pounces  press'd, 
In  wrathful  ire,  his  adversary's  breast; 
Each  falls  a  victim,  to  preserve  the  fame  910 

Of  that  great  hero,  whence  their  being  came. 
From  him  their  courage  and  their  name  they  take, 
And,  as  they  liv'd,  they  die  for  Memnon's  sake. 
Punctual  to  time,  with  each  revolving  year, 
In  fresh  array  the  champion  birds  appear ;  915 

Again,  prepar'd  with  vengefol  minds,  they  come 
To  bleed,  in  honour  of  the  soldier's  tomb. 

Therefore,  in  others  it  appear'd  not  strange, 
To  grieve  for  Hecuba's  unhappy  change  : 

BOOK  XIII.  345 

But  poor  Aurora  had  enough  to  do  920 

With  her  own  loss,  to  mind  another's  woe ; 
Who  still,  in  tears,  her  tender  nature  shews, 
Besprinkling  all  the  world  with  pearly  dews. 

Troy  thus  destroy'd,  'twas  still  denied  by  fate, 
The  hopes  of  Troy  should  perish  with  the  state.      925 
His  sire,  the  son  of  Cytherea  bore, 
And  household  gods  from  burning  Ilium's  shore. 
The  pious  prince  (a  double  duty  paid) 
Each  sacred  burthen  through  the  flames  convey'd. 
With  young  Ascanius  and  this  only  prize,  930 

Of  heaps  of  wealth,  he  from  Antandros  flies : 
But  struck  with  horror,  left  the  Thracian  shore, 
Stain'd  with  the  blood  of  murder'd  Polydore. 
The  Delian  isle  receives  the  banish'd  train, 
Driv'n  by  kind  gales,  and  favour'd  by  the  main.     935 

Here  pious  Anius,  priest  and  monarch  reign'd, 
And  either  charge  with  equal  care  sustain'd, 
His  subjects  rul'd,  to  Phoebus  homage  paid, 
His  god  obeying,  and  by  those  obey'd. 

The  priest  displays  his  hospitable  gate,  940 

And  shews  the  riches  of  bis  church  and  state ; 
The  sacred  shrubs,  which  eas'd  Latona's  pain, 
The  palm,  the  olive,  and  the  votive  fane. 
Here  grateful  flames,  with  fuming  incense  fed, 
And  mingled  wine,  ambrosial  odours  shed  ;  945 

Of  slaughter'd  steers  the  crackling  entrails  burn'd : 
And  then  the  strangers  to  the  court  return'd. 

On  beds  of  tap'stry  plac'd  aloft,  they  dine 
With  Ceres'  gift,  and  flowing  bowls  of  wine ; 
When  thus  Anchises  spoke,  amidst  the  feast,  950 

Say,  mitred  monarch,  Phoebus'  chosen  priest 
(Or  ere  from  Troy  by  cruel  fate  expell'd), 
When  first  mine  eyes  these  sacred  walls  beheld, 
A  son,  and  twice  two  daughters  crown'd  thy  bliss  ? 
Or  errs  my  mem'ry,  and  1  judge  amiss  ?  955 

The  royal  prophet  shook  his  hoary  head, 
With  snowy  fillets  bound,  and  sighing,  said ; 
Thy  mem'ry  errs  not,  prince  ;  thou  saw'st  me  then, 
The  happy  father  of  so  large  a  train  ; 
Behold  me  now  (such  turns  of  chance  befal  PG8 

Q  2 


The  race  of  man  !)  almost  bereft  of  all. 

For,  ah  !  what  comfort  can  my  son  bestow, 

What  help  afford  to  mitigate  my  woe  I 

While  far  from  hence,  in  Andros'  isle  he  reigns     964 

(From  him  so  nam'd),  and  there  my  place  sustains. 

Him  Oelius  prescience  gave :  the  twice-born  god 

A  boon  more  wondrous  on  the  maids  bestow'd. 

Whate'er  they  touch'd  he  gave  them  to  transmute 

(A  gift  past  credit,  and  above  their  suit), 

To  Ceres',  Bacchus',  and  Minerva's  fruit.  970 

How  great  their  value,  and  how  rich  their  use, 

Whose  only  touch  such  treasures  could  produce ! 

The  dire  destroyer  of  the  Trojan  reign, 
Fierce  Agamemnon,  such  a  prize  to  gain 
(A  proof  we  also  were  design'd  by  fate  975 

To  feel  the  tempest  that  o'erturn'd  your  state), 
With  force  superior,  and  a  ruffian  crew, 
From  these  weak  arms  the  helpless  virgins  drew  ; 
And  sternly  bade  them  use  the  grant  divine, 
To  keep  the  fleet  in  corn,  and  oil,  and  wine.  980 

Each,  as  they  could,  escap'd ;  two  strove  to  gain 
Eubosa's  isle,  and  two  their  brother's  reign. 
The  soldier  follows,  and  demands  the  dames ; 
If  held  by  force,  immediate  war  proclaims. 
Fear  conquer'd  nature  in  their  brother's  mind,        985 
And  gave  them  up  to  punishment  assign'd. 
Forgive  the  deed ;  nor  Hector's  arm  was  there, 
Nor  thine,  iEneas,  to  maintain  the  war; 
Whose  only  force  upheld  your  Ilium's  tow'rs, 
For  ten  long  years,  against  the  Grecian  Pow'rs.     990 
Prepar'd  to  bind  their  captive  arms  in  bands, 
To  heav'n  they  rear'd  their  yet  unfetter'd  hands. 
Help,  Bacchus,  author  of  the  gift,  they  pray'd; — 
The  gift's  great  author  gave  immediate  aid; 
If  such  destruction  of  their  human  frame  995 

By  ways  so  wondrous,  may  deserve  the  name  ; 
Nor  could  I  hear,  nor  can  I  now  relate 
Exact,  the  manner  of  their  alter'd  state  ; 
But  this  in  gen'ral  of  my  loss  I  knew, 
Transform'd  to  doves,  on  milky  plumes  they 

flew,  1000 

Such  as  on  Ida's  mount  thy  consort's  chariot  drew. 

BOOK  XIII.  347 

With  such  discourse  they  entertain'd  the  feast ; 
Then  rose  from  table,  and  withdrew  to  rest. 
The  following  mora,  ere  Sol  was  seen  to  shine, 
Th'  inquiring  Trojans  sought  the  sacred  shrine,      1005 
The  mystic  pow'r  commands  them  to  explore 
Their  ancient  mother,  and  a  kindred  shore. 
Attending  to  the  sea,  the  gen'rous  prince 
Dismiss'd  his  guests  with  rich  munificence, 
In  old  Anchises'  hand  a  sceptre  plac'd,  1010 

A  vest,  and  quiver  young  Ascanius  grac'd, 
His  sire,  a  cup;  which  from  th'  Abnian  coast, 
Ismenian  Therses  sent  his  royal  host. 
Alcon  of  Myle  made  what  Therses  sent, 
And  carv'd  thereon  this  ample  argument.  1015 

A  town  with  sev'n  distinguish'd  gates  was  shewn, 
Which  spoke  its  name,  and  made  the  city  known; 
Before  it,  piles,  and  tombs,  and  rising  flames, 
The  rites  of  death,  and  quires  of  mourning  dames, 
Who  bar'd  their  breasts,  and  gave  their  hair  to  flow, 
The  signs  of  grief,  and  marks  of  public  woe.  1021 

Their  fountains  dried,  the  weeping  Naiads  niourn'd; 
The  trees  stood  bare,  with  searing  cankers  burn'd. 
No  herbage  cloth'd  the  ground,  a  ragged  flock 
Of  goats  half-famish'd,  lick'd  the  naked  rock.        1025 
Of  manly  courage,  and  with  mind  serene, 
Orion's  daughters  in  the  town  were  seen  ; 
One  heav'd  her  chest  to  meet  the  lifted  knife, 
One  plung'd  the  poniard  through  the  seat  of  life, 
Their  countries'  victims ;  mourns  the  rescu'd  state, 
The  bodies  burns,  and  celebrates  their  fate.  1031 

To  save  the  failure  of  th'  illustrious  line, 
From  the  pale  ashes  rose,  of  form  divine, 
Two  gen'rous  youths ;  these,  fame  Corona?  calls, 

Who  join  the  pomp,  and  mourn  their  mothers'  falls. 
These  burnish'd  figures  form'd  of  antique  mould 

Shone  on  the  brass,  with  rising  sculpture  bold; 

A  wreath  of  gilt  acanthus  round  the  brim  was  roll'd. 
Nor  less  expense  the  Trojan  gifts  express'd; 

A  fuming  censer  for  the  royal  priest,  1040 

A  chalice,  and  a  crown  of  princely  cost, 

With  ruddy  gold,  and  sparkling  gems  embost. 


Now  hoisting  sail,  to  Crete,  the  Trojans  stood, 
Themselves  remerub'ring  sprung  from  Teucer's  blood  ; 
But  Heav'n  forbids,  and  pestilential  Jove  1045 

From  noxious  skies  the  wand'ring  navy  drove. 
Her  hundred  cities  left,  from  Crete  they  bore, 
And  sought  the  destin'd  land,  Ausonia's  shore ; 
But  toss'd  by  storms  at  either  Strophas  lay, 
Till  scar'd  by  harpies  from  the  faithless  bay ;         1050 
Then  passing  onward  with  a  prosp'rous  wind, 
Left  sly  Ulysses'  spacious  realms  behind; 
Ambracia's  state,  in  former  ages  known 
The  strife  of  gods,  the  judge  transform'd  to  stone 
They  saw;  for  Actian  Phoebus  since  renown'd,     1055 
Who  Caesar's  arms  with  naval  conquest  crown'd  ; 
Next  pass'd  Dodona,  wont  of  old  to  boast 
Her  vocal  forest;  and  Chaonia's  coast, 
Where  King  Molossus'  sons  on  wings  aspir'd, 
And  saw  secure  the  harmless  fuel  fir'd.  10G0 

Now  to  Phaeacia's  happy  isle  they  came, 
For  fertile  orchards  known  to  early  fame ; 
Epirus  past,  they  next  beheld  with  joy 
A  second  Ilium,  and  fictitious  Troy; 
Here  Trojan  Helenus  the  sceptre  sway'd,  1065 

Who  shew'd  their  fate,  and  mystic  truths  display'd. 
By  him  confirm'd,  Sicilia's  isle  they  reach'd, 
Whose  sides  to  sea  three  promontories  stretch'd ; 
Pachynos  to  the  stormy  south  is  plac'd, 
On  LilybEeum  blows  the  gentle  west ;  1070 

Peloro's  cliffs  the  northern  bear  survey, 
Who  rolls  above,  and  dreads  to  touch  the  sea. 
By  this  they  steer,  and,  favour'd  by  the  tide, 
Secure  by  night  in  Zancle's  harbour  ride. 

Here  cruel  Scylla  guards  the  rocky  shore,  1075 

And  there  the  waves  of  loud  Charybdis  roar: 
This  sucks,  and  vomits  ships,  and  bodies  drown'd ; 
And  rav'nous  dogs  the  womb  of  that  surround, 
In  face  a  virgin  ;  and  (if  aught  be  true 
By  bards  recorded)  once  a  virgin  too.  1080 

A  train  of  youths  in  vain  desir'd  her  bed ; 
By  sea-nymphs  lov'd,  to  nymphs  of  seas  she  fled ; 
The  maid  to  these,  with  female  pride,  display'd 
Their  baffled  courtship,  and  their  love  betray'd. 

BOOK  XIII.  349 

When  Galatea  thus  bespoke  the  fair  1085 

(But  first  she  sigh'd),  while  Scylla  comb'd  her  hair; 
You,  lovely  maid,  a  gen'rous  race  pursues, 
Whom  safe  you  may  (as  now  you  do)  refuse ; 
To  me,  though  pow'rful  in  a  num'rous  train 
Of  sisters,  sprung  from  gods,  who  rule  the  main, 
My  native  seas  could  scarce  a  refuge  prove,  1091 

To  shun  the  fury  of  the  Cyclops'  love. 

Tears  choak'd  her  utt'rance  here;  the  pitying 
With  marble  fingers  wip'd  them  off,  and  said : 

My  dearest  goddess,  let  thy  Scylla  know  1095 

(For  I  am  faithful),  whence  these  sorrows  flow. 

The  maid's  entreaties  o'er  the  nymph  prevail, 
Who  thus  to  Scylla  tells  the  mournful  tale : 

Acis,  the  lovely  youth  whose  loss  I  mourn, 
From  Faunus  and  the  nymph  Symethis  born,       1100 
Was  both  his  parents'  pleasure  ;  but  to  me 
Was  all  that  love  could  make  a  lover  be. 
The  gods  our  minds  in  mutual  bands  did  join: 
I  was  his  only  joy,  and  he  was  mine. 
Now  sixteen  summers  the  sweet  youth  had  seen  ; 
And  doubtful  down  began  to  shade  his  chin :         1106 
When  Polyphemus  first  disturb'd  our  joy, 
And  lov'd  me  fiercely  as  I  lov'd  the  boy. 
Ask  not  which  passion  in  my  soul  was  high'r, 
My  last  aversion,  or  my  first  desire :  1110 

Nor  this  the  greater  was,  nor  that  the  less ; 
Both  were  alike,  for  both  were  in  excess. 
Thee,  Venus,  thee,  both  heav'n  and  earth  obey; 
Immense  thy  pow'r,  and  boundless  is  thy  sway. 
The  Cyclops,  who  defy'd  th'  ethereal  throne,        1115 
And  thought  no  thunder  louder  than  his  own, 
The  terror  of  the  woods,  and  wilder  far 
Than  wolves  in  plains,  or  bears  in  forests  are, 
Th'  inhuman  host,  who  made  his  bloody  feasts 
On  mangled  members  of  his  butcher'd  guests,       1 120 
Yet  felt  the  force  of  love,  and  fierce  desire, 
And  burnt  for  me  with  unrelenting  fire ; 
Forgot  his  caverns,  and  his  woolly  care, 
Assum'd  the  softness  of  a  lover's  air;  1124 

And  comb'd,  with  teeth  of  rakes,  his  rugged  hair. 


Now  with  a  crooked  scythe  his  beard  he  sleeks, 

And  mows  the  stubborn  stubble  of  bis  cheeks : 

Now  in  the  crystal  stream  he  looks  to  try 

His  simagres,  and  rolls  his  glaring  eye. 

His  cruelty  and  thirst  of  blood  are  lost;  1130 

And  ships  securely  sail  along  the  coast. 

The  prophet  Telemus  (arriv'd  by  chance 
Where  ^Etna's  summits  to  the  seas  advance, 
Who  mark'd  the  tracts  of  ev'ry  bird  that  flew, 
And  sure  presages  from  their  flying  drew)  1135 

Foretold  the  Cyclops,  that  Ulysses'  hand 
In  his  broad  eye  should  thrust  a  flaming  brand. 
The  giant,  with  a  scornful  grin,  reply'd, 
Vain  augur,  thou  hast  falsely  prophesy'd; 
Already  love  his  flaming  brand  has  tost ;  1 140 

Looking  on  two  fair  eyes,  my  sight  I  lost. 
Thus  warn'd  in  vain,  with  stalking  pace  he  strode, 
And  stamp'd  the  margin  of  the  briny  flood 
With  heavy  steps ;  and  weary  sought  again 
The  cool  retirement  of  his  gloomy  den.  1145 

A  promontory,  sharpen'd  by  degrees, 
Ends  in  a  wedge,  and  overlooks  the  seas; 
On  either  side,  below,  the  water  flows; 
This  airy  walk  the  giant  lover  chose. 
Here,  on  the  midst  he  sate;  his  flocks  unled,         1150 
Their  shepherd  follow'd,  and  securely  fed. 
A  pine  so  burly,  and  of  length  so  vast, 
That  sailing  ships  requir'd  it  for  a  mast, 
He  wielded  for  a  staff,  his  steps  to  guide: 
But  laid  it  by  his  whistle  while  he  try'd.  1155 

A  hundred  reeds,  of  a  prodigious  growth, 
Scarce  made  a  pipe  proportion'd  to  his  mouth : 
Which  when  he  gave  it  wind,  the  rocks  around, 
And  wat'ry  plains,  the  dreadful  hiss  resound. 
I  heard  the  ruflian  shepherd  rudely  blow,  1160 

While  in  a  hollow  cave  I  sate  below ; 
On  Acis'  bosom  I  my  head  reclin'd: 
And  still  preserve  the  poem  in  my  mind. 

O,  lovely  Galatea,  whiter  far 
Than  falling  snows,  and  rising  lilies  are;  1185 

More  flow'ry  than  the  meads,  as  crystal  bright, 
Erect  as  alders,  and  of  equal  height : 
More  wanton  than  a  kid,  more  sleek  thy  skin, 

BOOK  XIII.  351 

Than  orient  shells  that  on  the  shores  are  seen; 
Than  apples  fairer,  when  the  boughs  they  lade,    1170 
Pleasing,  as  winter  suns,  or  summer  shade: 
More  grateful  to  the  sight  than  goodly  plains ; 
And  softer  to  the  touch  than  down  of  swans ; 
Or  curds  new  turn'd ;  and  sweeter  to  the  taste 
Than  swelling  grapes  that  to  the  vintage  haste;     1175 
More  clear  than  ice,  or  running  streams  that  stray 
Through  garden  plots,  but  ah !  more  swift  than  they. 

Yet  Galatea,  harder  to  be  broke 
Than  bullocks,  unreclaim'd,  to  bear  the  yoke, 
And  far  more  stubborn  than  the  knotted  oak:       1180 
Like  sliding  streams  impossible  to  hold; 
Like  them,  fallacious,  like  their  fountains,  cold. 
More  warping  than  the  willow  to  decline 
My  warm  embrace,  more  brittle  than  the  vine; 
Immoveable  and  fix'd  in  thy  disdain  ;  1185 

Rough  as  these  rocks,  and  of  a  harder  grain. 
More  violent  than  is  the  rising  flood ; 
And  the  prais'd  peacock  is  not  half  so  proud. 
Fierce  as  the  fire,  and  sharp  as  thistles  are, 
And  more  outrageous  than  a  mother-bear;  1190 

Deaf  as  the  billows  to  the  vows  I  make ; 
And  more  revengeful  than  a  trodden  snake. 
In  swiftness  fleeter  than  the  flying  hind, 
Or  driv'n  tempests,  or  the  driving  wind. 
All  other  faults  with  patience  I  can  bear;  1195 

But  swiftness  is  the  vice  I  only  fear. 

Yet  if  you  knew  me  well,  you  would  not  shun 
My  love,  but  to  my  wish'd  embraces  run  : 
Would  languish  in  your  turn,  and  court  my  stay; 
And  much  repent  of  your  unwise  delay.  1200 

My  palace,  in  the  living  rock  is  made 
By  nature's  hand;  a  spacious  pleasing  shade; 
Which  neither  heat  can  pierce,  nor  cold  invade. 
My  garden  fill'd  with  fruits,  you  may  behold, 
And  grapes  in  clusters,  imitating  gold;  1205 

Some  blushing  bunches  of  a  purple  hue  : 
And  these  and  those  are  all  reserv'd  for  you. 
Red  strawberries,  in  shades,  expecting  stand, 
Proud  to  be  gather'd  by  so  white  a  hand. 
Autumnal  cornels,  latter  fruit  provide ;  1210 


And  plums,  to  tempt  you,  turn  their  glossy  side ; 
Not  those  of  common  kinds;  but  such  alone, 
As  in  Phaeacian  orchards  might  have  grown : 
Nor  chesnuts  shall  be  wanting  to  your  food, 
Nor  garden  fruits,  nor  wildings  of  the  wood ;        1215 
The  laden  boughs  for  you  alone  shall  bear ; 
And  yours  shall  be  the  product  of  the  year. 
The  flocks  you  see  are  all  my  own,  beside 
The  rest  that  woods  and  winding  valleys  hide ; 
And  those  that  folded  in  the  caves  abide.  1220 

Ask  not  the  numbers  of  my  growing  store  ; 
Who  knows  how  many,  knows  he  has  no  more. 
Nor  will  I  praise  my  cattle  ;  trust  not  me, 
But  judge  yourself,  and  pass  your  own  decree : 
Behold  their  swelling  dugs;  the  sweepy  weight    1225 
Of  ewes,  that  sink  beneath  the  milky  freight; 
In  the  warm  folds  their  tender  lambkins  lie ; 
Apart  from  kids,  that  call  with  human  cry. 
New  milk,  in  nut-brown  bowls,  is  duly  serv'd 
For  daily  drink;  the  rest  for  cheese  reserv'd.         1230 
Nor  are  these  household  dainties  all  my  store : 
The  fields  and  forests  will  afford  us  more ; 
The  deer,  the  hare,  the  goat,  the  savage  boar. 
All  sorts  of  ven'son,  and  of  birds  the  best ; 
A  pair  of  turtles  taken  from  the  nest.  1235 

I  walk'd  the  mountains,  and  two  cubs  I  found 
(Whose  dam  had  left  them  on  the  naked  ground), 
So  like,  that  no  distinction  could  be  seen : 
So  pretty,  they  were  presents  for  a  queen ; 
And  so  they  shall:  I  took  them  both  away,  1240 

And  keep,  to  be  companions  of  your  play. 

Oh  raise,  fair  nymph,  your  beauteous  face  above 
The  waves;  nor  scorn  my  presents,  and  my  love. 
Come,  Galatea,  come,  and  view  my  face; 
I  late  beheld  it  in  the  wat'ry  glass,  1245 

And  found  it  lovelier  than  I  fear'd  it  was. 
Survey  my  tow'ring  stature,  and  my  size  : 
Not  Jove,  the  Jove  you  dream  that  rules  the  skies, 
Bears  such  a  bulk,  or  is  so  largely  spread: 
My  locks  (the  plenteous  harvest  of  my  head)  1250 

Hang  o'er  my  manly  face,  and  dangling  down, 

BOOK  XIII.  353 

As  with  a  shady  grove,  my  shoulders  crown. 

Nor  think,  because  my  limbs  and  body  bear 

A  thick-set  underwood  of  bristling  hair, 

My  shape  deform'd :  What  fouler  sight  can  be,     1255 

Than  the  bald  branches  of  a  leafless  tree  1 

Foul  is  the  steed  without  a  flowing  mane; 

And  birds,  without  their  feathers  and  their  train. 

Wool  decks  the  sheep ;  and  man  receives  a  grace 

From  bushy  limbs,  and  from  a  bearded  face.  1260 

My  forehead  with  a  single  eye  is  fill'd, 

Round  as  a  ball,  and  ample  as  a  shield. 

The  glorious  lamp  of  heav'n,  the  radiant  sun, 

Is  nature's  eye,  and  she's  content  with  one. 

Add,  that  my  father  sways  your  seas,  and  I,  1265 

Like  you,  am  of  the  wat'ry  family. 

I  make  you  his,  in  making  you  my  own: 

You  I  adore,  and  kneel  to  you  alone. 

Jove  with  bis  fabled  thunder,  I  despise, 

And  only  fear  the  lightning  of  your  eyes.  1270 

Frown  not,  fair  nymph :  yet  I  could  bear  to  be 

Disdain'd,  if  others  were  disdain'd  with  me. 

But  to  repulse  the  Cyclops,  and  prefer 

The  love  of  Acis,  (heav'ns!)  I  cannot  bear. 

But  let  the  stripling  please  himself;  nay  more,     1275 

Please  you,  though  that's  the  thing  I  most  abhor; 

The  boy  shall  find,  if  ere  he  cope  in  fight, 

These  giant  limbs  endu'd  with  giant  might. 

His  living  bowels,  from  his  belly  torn, 

And  scatter'd  limbs  shall  on  the  flood  be  borne  ;    1280 

Thy  flood,  ungrateful  nymph;  and  fate  shall  find 

That  way  for  thee  and  Acis  to  be  join'd. 

For,  oh !  I  burn  with  love  ;  and  thy  disdain 

Augments  at  once  my  passion  and  my  pain. 

Translated  ./Etna  flames  within  my  heart,  1285 

And  thou,  inhuman,  wilt  not  ease  my  smart. 

Lamenting  thus  in  vain,  he  rose  and  strode 
With  furious  paces  to  the  neighb'ring  wood : 
Restless  his  feet,  distracted  was  his  walk ; 
Mad  were  his  motions,  and  confus'd  his  talk.        1290 
Mad  as  the  vanquish'd  bull,  when  forc'd  to  yield 
His  lovely  mistress  and  forsake  the  field. 

Thus  far  unseen  I  saw:   When  fatal  chance, 


His  looks  directing  with  a  sudden  glance, 

Acis,  and  I,  were  to  his  sight  betray'd;  1295 

Where,  nought  suspecting,  we  securely  play'd. 

From  his  wide  mouth  a  bellowing  cry  he  cast, 

I  see,  I  see;  but  this  shall  be  your  last: 

A  roar  so  loud  made  yEtna  to  rebound; 

And  all  the  Cyclops  labour'd  in  the  sound.  1300 

Affrighted  with  his  monstrous  voice,  I  fled, 

And  in  the  neighb'ring  ocean  plungM  my  head.   < 

Poor  Acis  turn'd  his  back,  and  Help,  he  cry'd, 

Help,  Galatea,  help,  my  parent  gods, 

And  take  me  dying,  to  your  deep  abodes.  1305 

The  Cyclops  follow'd;  but  he  sent  before 

A  rib  which  from  the  living  rock  he  tore: 

Though  but  an  angle  reach'd  him  of  the  stone, 

The  mighty  fragment  was  enough  alone, 

To  crush  all  Acis;  'twas  too  late  to  save,  1310 

But  what  the  fates  allow'd  to  give,  I  gave: 

That  Acis  to  his  lineage  should  return, 

And  roll,  among  the  river  gods,  his  urn. 

Straight  issu'd  from  the  stone  a  stream  of  blood, 

Which  lost  the  purple,  mingling  with  the  flood.    1315 

Then,  like  a  troubled  torrent  it  appear'd; 

The  torrent  too,  in  little  space  was  clear'd. 

The  stone  was  cleft,  and  through  the  yawning  chink 

New  reeds  arose,  on  the  new  river's  brink. 

The  rock  from  out  its  hollow  womb  disclos'd  1320 

A  sound  like  water  in  its  course  oppos'd, 

When  (wondrous  to  behold),  full  in  the  flood, 

Up  starts  a  youth,  and  navel-high  he  stood. 

Horns  from  his  temples  rise;  and  either  horn 

Thick  wreaths  of  reeds  (his  native  growth)  adorn. 

Were  not  his  stature  taller  than  before,  1326 

His  bulk  augmented,  and  his  beauty  more, 

His  colour  blue;  for  Acis  he  might  pass: 

And  Acis  chang'd  into  a  stream  he  was, 

But  mine  no  more;  he  rolls  along  the  plains         1330 

With  rapid  motion,  and  his  name  retains. 

Here  ceas'd  the  nymph ;  the  fair  assembly  broke, 
The  sea-green  Nereids  to  the  waves  betook: 
While  Scylla,  fearful  of  the  wide-spread  main, 

BOOK  XIII.  355 

Swift  to  the  safer  shore  returns  again.  1335 

There  o'er  the  sandy  margin  unarray'd, 

With  printless  footsteps  flies  the  bounding  maid ; 

Or  in  some  winding  creek's  secure  retreat  [heat. 

She  bathes  her  weary  limbs,  and  shuns  the  noonday's 

Her,  Glaucus  saw,  as  o'er  the  deep  he  rode,  1340 

New  to  the  seas,  and  late  receiv'd  a  god. 

He  saw,  and  languish'd  for  the  virgin's  love, 

With  many  an  artful  blandishment  he  strove 

Her  flight  to  hinder,  and  her  fears  remove.  1344 

The  more  he  sues,  the  more  she  wings  her  flight, 

And  nimbly  gains  a  neighb'ring  mountain's  height. 

Steep  shelving  to  the  margin  of  the  flood, 

A  neighb'ring  mountain  bare  and  woodless  stood; 

Here,  by  the  place  secur'd,  her  steps  she  stay'd, 

And,  trembling  still,  her  lover's  form  survey'd.     1350 

His  shape,  his  hue,  her  troubled  sense  appall, 

And  dropping  locks  that  o'er  his  shoulders  fall ; 

She  sees  his  face  divine,  and  manly  brow, 

End  in  a  fish's  wreathy  tail  below : 

She  sees,  and  doubts  within  her  anxious  mind,    1355 

Whether  he  comes  of  god  or  monster  kind. 

This,  Glaucus  soon  perceiv'd  ;  and,  oh!  forbear 

(His  hand  supporting  on  a  rock  lay  near), 

Forbear  (he  cry'd),  fond  maid,  this  needless  fear : 

Nor  fish  am  I,  nor  monster  of  the  main,  1360 

But  equal  with  the  wat'ry  gods  I  reign; 

Nor  Proteus,  nor  Palsemon  me  excel, 

Nor  he  whose  breath  inspires  the  sounding  shell. 

My  birth,  'tis  true,  I  owe  to  mortal  race, 

And  I  myself  but  late  a  mortal  was :  1365 

E'en  then  in  seas,  and  seas  alone,  I  joy'd; 

The  seas  my  hours  and  all  my  cares  employ'd. 

In  meshes  now  the  twinkling  prey  I  drew ; 

Now  skilfully  the  slender  line  I  threw, 

And  silent  sat  the  moving  float  to  view.  1370 

Not  far  from  shore  there  lies  a  verdant  mead, 

With  herbage  half,  and  half  with  water  spread : 

There,  nor  the  horned  heifers  browsing  stray, 

Nor  shaggy  kids,  nor  wanton  lambkins  play ; 

There,  nor  the  sounding  bees  their  nectar  cull,      1375 

Nor  rural  swains  their  genial  chaplets  pull ; 


Nor  flocks,  nor  herds,  nor  mowers  haunt  the  place, 
To  crop  the  flow'rs,  or  cut  the  bushy  grass: 
Thither,  sure  first  of  living  race  came  I, 
And  sat  by  chance,  my  drooping  nets  to  dry.         1380 
My  scaly  prize,  in  order  all  display 'd, 
By  number  on  the  greensward  there  I  laid. 
My  captives,  whom  or  in  my  nets  I  took, 
Or  hung  unwary  on  my  wily  hook, 
Strange  to  behold !  yet  what  avails  a  lie  ?  1385 

I  saw  them  bite  the  grass,  as  I  sat  by. 
Then  sudden  darting  o'er  the  verdant  plain, 
They  spread  their  fins,  as  in  their  native  main : 
I  paus'd,  with  wonder  struck,  while  all  my  prey 
Left  their  new  master,  and  regain'd  the  sea.         1390 
Amaz'd,  within  my  secret  self  I  sought, 
What  god,  what  herb,  the  miracle  had  wrought: 
But  sure  no  herbs  have  powJr  like  this  (I  cry'd), 
And  straight  I  pluck'd  some  neighb'ring  herbs,  and 
try'd.  1394 

Scarce  had  I  bit,  and  prov'd  the  wondrous  taste, 
When  strong  convulsions  shook  my  troubled  breast ; 
I  felt  my  heart  grow  fond  of  something  strange, 
And  my  whole  nature  lab'ring  with  a  change. 
Restless  I  grew,  and  ev'ry  place  forsook, 
And  still  upon  the  seas  I  bent  my  look.  1400 

Farewell  for  ever!  farewell,  land  (I  said); 
And  plung'd  amidst  the  waves  my  sinking  head. 
And  gentle  pow'rs  who  that  low  empire  keep, 
Receiv'd  me  as  a  brother  of  the  deep  ; 
To  Tethys,  and  to  Ocean  old,  they  pray  1405 

To  purge  my  mortal  earthy  parts  away. 
The  wat'ry  parents  to  their  suit  agreed, 
And  thrice  nine  times  a  secret  charm  they  read ; 
Then  with  lustrations  purify  my  limbs, 
And  bid  me  bathe  beneath  a  hundred  streams;     1410 
A  hundred  streams  from  various  fountains  run, 
And  on  my  head  at  once  come  rushing  down. 
Thus  far  each  passage  I  remember  well, 
And  faithfully  thus  far  the  tale  I  tell; 
But  then  oblivion  dark  on  all  my  senses  fell.        1415 
Again  at  length  my  thought  reviving  came, 
When  I  no  longer  found  myself  the  same; 

BOOK  XIV.  357 

Then  first  this  sea-green  beard  I  felt  to  grow, 

And  these  large  honours  on  my  spreading  brow ; 

My  long,  descending  locks  the  billows  sweep,        1420 

And  my  broad  shoulders  cleave  the  yielding  deep; 

My  fishy  tail,  my  arms  of  azure  hue, 

And  ev'ry  part  divinely  chang'd,  I  view. 

But  what  avail  these  useless  honours  now  ? 

What  joys  can  immortality  bestow  ?  1425 

What,  though  our  Nereids  all,  my  form  approve  1 

What  boots  it,  while  fair  Scylla  scorns  my  love  1 

Thus  far  the  god ;  and  more  he  would  have  said : 
When  from  his  presence  flew  the  ruthless  maid. 
Stung  with  repulse,  in  such  disdainful  sort,  1430 

He  seeks  Titanian  Circe's  horrid  court. 



The  transformation  of  Scylla.  The  voyage  of  .flEneas  continued. 
The  transformation  of  Cercopians  into  apes.  iEneas  descends 
to  Hell.  The  story  of  the  Sibyl.  The  adventures  of  Acli<r- 
menides.  The  adventures  of  Macareus.  The  enchantments 
of  Circe.  The  story  of  Picus  and  Canens.  ./Eneas  arrives  in 
Italy.  The  adventures  of  Diomedes.  The  transformation  of 
Appulus.  The  Trojan  ships  transformed  to  sea-nymphs.  The 
deification  of  ./Eneas.  Tne  line  of  the  Latian  Kings.  The 
story  of  Verturanus  and  Pomona.  The  story  oil  phis  and  Ana- 
xarete.  The  Latian  Line  continued.  The  assumption  of  Ro- 
mulus.   The  assumption  of  Hersilia. 

Now  Glaucus,  with  a  lover's  haste  bounds  o'er 
The  swelling  waves,  and  seeks  the  Latian  shore. 
Messena,  Rhegium,  and  the  barren  coast 
Of  flaming  ^Etna,  to  his  sight  are  lost : 
At  length  he  gains  the  Tyrrhene  seas,  and  views       5 
The  hills  where  baneful  filters  Circe  brews  ; 
Monsters,  in  various  forms,  around  her  press, 
As  thus  the  god  salutes  the  sorceress : 

O  Circe,  be  indulgent  to  my  grief, 
And  give  a  love-sick  deity  relief.  10 

Too  well  the  mighty  pow'r  of  plants  I  know, 
To  those  my  figure  and  new  fate  I  owe. 
Against  Messena,  on  th'  Ausonian  coast, 
I  Scylla  view'd,  and  from  that  hour  was  lost. 
In  tend'rest  sounds  I  sued ;  bat  still  the  fair  15 


Was  deaf  to  vows,  and  pitiless  to  pray'r. 

If  numbers  can  avail,  exert  their  pow'r; 

Or  energy  of  plants,  if  plants  have  more. 

I  ask  no  cure ;  let  but  the  virgin  pine 

With  dying  pangs,  or  agonies  like  mine.  20 

No  longer  Circe  could  her  flame  disguise, 
But  to  the  suppliant  god  marine  replies : 

When  maids  are  coy,  have  manlier  aims  in  view ; 
Leave  those  that  fly,  but  those  that  like  pursue. 
If  love  can  be  by  kind  compliance  won,  25 

See,  at  your  feet,  the  daughter  of  the  Sun. 

Sooner  (said  Glaucus)  shall  the  ash  remove 
From  mountains,  and  the  swelling  surges  love ; 
Or  humble  sea-weed  to  the  hills  repair, 
Ere  I  think  any  but  my  Scylla  fair.  30 

Straight  Circe  reddens  with  a  guilty  shame, 
And  vows  revenge  for  her  rejected  flame. 
Fierce  liking  oft  a  spite  as  fierce  creates ; 
For  love  refus'd,  without  aversion,  hates. 
To  hurt  her  hapless  rival  she  proceeds ;  35 

And,  by  the  fall  of  Scylla,  Glaucus  bleeds. 

Some  fascinating  bev'rage  now  she  brews, 
Compos'd  of  deadly  drugs  and  baneful  juice. 
At  Rhegium  she  arrives;  the  ocean  braves, 
And  treads,  with  unwet  feet,  the  boiling  waves.       40 
Upon  the  beach  a  winding  bay  there  lies, 
Shelter'd  from  seas,  and  shaded  from  the  skies: 
This  station  Scylla  chose ;  a  soft  retreat 
From  chilling  winds,  and  raging  Cancer's  heat. 
The  vengeful  sorc'ress  visits  this  recess ;  45 

Her  charm  infuses,  and  infects  the  place. 
Soon  as  the  nymph  wades  in,  her  nether  parts 
Turn  into  dogs;  then  at  herself  she  starts. 
A  ghastly  horror  in  her  eyes  appears; 
But  yet  she  knows  not  who  it  is  she  fears  ;  50 

In  vain  she  offers  from  herself  to  run ; 
And  drags  about  her  what  she  strives  to  shun. 

Oppress'd  with  grief  the  pitying  god  appears, 
And  swells  the  rising  surges  with  his  tears ; 
From  the  detested  sorc'ress  he  flies ;  55 

Her  art  reviles,  and  her  address  denies; 

BOOK  XIV.  359 

Whilst  hapless  Scylla,  chang'd  to  rocks,  decrees 
Destruction  to  those  barks  that  beat  the  seas. 

Here  bulg'd  the  pride  of  fam'd  Ulysses'  fleet, 
But  good  ^Eneas  'scap'd  the  fate  he  met.  60 

As  to  the  Latian  shore  the  Trojans  stood, 
And  cut,  with  well-tim'd  oars,  the  foaming  flood, 
He  weather'd  fell  Charybdis:  But  ere  long, 
The  skies  were  darken'd,  and  the  tempest  strong. 
Then  to  the  Libyan  coast  he  stretches  o'er,  65 

And  makes  at  length  the  Carthaginian  shore. 
Here  Dido,  with  an  hospitable  care, 
Into  her  heart  receives  the  wanderer. 
From  her  kind  arms  th'  ungrateful  hero  flies ; 
The  injur'd  queen  looks  on  with  dying  eyes,  '  70 

Then  to  her  folly  falls  a  sacrifice. 

iEneas  now  sets  sail,  and  plying,  gains 
Fair  Eryx,  where  his  friend  Acestes  reigns : 
First  to  his  sire  does  fun'ral  rites  decree, 
Then  gives  the  signal  next,  and  stands  to  sea;  75 

Out-runs  the  islands  where  volcanoes  roar : 
Gets  clear  of  Syrens,  and  their  faithless  shore: 
But  loses  Palinurus  in  the  way; 
Then  makes  Inarime,  and  Prochyta. 

The  galleys  now  by  Pythecusa  pass ;  go 

The  name  is  from  the  natives  of  the  place. 
The  father  of  the  gods,  detesting  lies, 
Oft,  with  abhorrence,  heard  their  perjuries. 
Th'  abandon'd  race,  transform'd  to  beasts,  began 
To  mimic  the  impertinence  of  man.  85 

Flat-nos'd,  and  furrow'd,  with  grimace  they  grin ; 
And  look,  to  what  they  were,  too  near  akin ; 
Merry  in  make,  and  busy  to  no  end : 
This  moment  they  divert,  the  next  offend ; 
So  much  this  species  of  their  past  retains ;  90 

Though  lost  the  language,  yet  the  noise  remains. 

Now,  on  his  right,  he  leaves  Parthenope; 
His  left,  Misenus  jutting  in  the  sea: 
Arrives  at  Cumae,  and  with  awe  survey'd 
The  grotto  of  the  venerable  maid :  95 


Begs  leave  through  black  Avernus  to  retire ; 
And  view  the  much-lov'd  manes  of  his  sire. 
Straight  the  divining  virgin  rais'd  her  eyes, 
And  foaming  with  a  holy  rage,  replies: 

O  thou,  whose  worth  thy  wondrous  works  proclaim  ; 
The  flames,  thy  piety;  the  world,  thy  fame:  101 

Though  great  be  thy  request,  yet  shalt  thou  see 
Th'  Elysian  fields,  th'  infernal  monarchy ; 
Thy  parent's  shade:  This  arm  thy  steps  shall  guide; 
To  suppliant  virtue  nothing  is  denied.  105 

She  spoke,  and  pointing  to  the  golden  bough, 
Which  in  th'  Avernian  grove  refulgent  grew: 
Seize  that  (she  bids) ;  he  listens  to  the  maid  : 
Then  views  the  mournful  mansions  of  the  dead: 
The  shade  of  great  Anchises,  and  the  place  110 

By  fates  determin'd  to  the  Trojan  race. 

As  back  to  upper  light  the  hero  came, 
He  thus  salutes  the  visionary  dame: 

O,  whether  some  propitious  deity, 
Or  lov'd  by  those  bright  rulers  of  the  sky!  115 

With^rateful  incense  I  shall  style  you  one, 
And  deem  no  godhead  greater  than  your  own. 
'Twas  you  restor'd  me  from  the  realms  of  night, 
And  gave  me  to  behold  the  fields  of  light : 
To  feel  the  breezes  of  congenial  air ;  120 

And  nature's  blest  benevolence  to  share. 

I  am  no  deity,  reply'd  the  dame, 
But  mortal,  and  religious  rites  disclaim, 
Yet  had  avoided  death's  tyrannic  sway, 
Had  I  consented  to  the  god  of  day.  125 

With  promises  he  sought  my  love :  and  said, 
'  Have  all  you  wish,  my  fair  Cumjean  maid.' 
I  paus'd ;  then  pointing  to  a  heap  of  sand, 
For  ev'ry  grain,  to  live  a  year,  demand. 
But,  ah !  unmindful  of  th'  effect  of  time,  130 

Forgot  to  covenant  for  youth  and  prime. 
The  smiling  bloom,  I  boasted  once,  is  gone, 
And  feeble  age,  with  lagging  limbs,  creeps  on. 
Sev'n  cen fries  have  I  liv'd;  three  more  fulfil 
The  period  of  the  years  to  finish  still.  135 

BOOK  XIV.  3C1 

Who'll  think,  that  Phoebus,  drest  in  youth  divine 
Had  once  believ'd  his  lustre  less  than  mine'? 
This  wither'd  frame  (so  fates  have  will'd)  shall  waste 
To  nothing,  but  prophetic  words,  at  last. 

The  Sibyl  mounting  now  from  nether  skies,        140 
And  the  fam'd  Ilian  prince,  at  Cumse  rise. 
He  sail'd,  and  near  the  place  to  anchor  came, 
Since  call'd  Caieta  from  his  nurse's  name". 
Here  did  the  luckless  Macareus,  a  friend  ' 
To  wise  Ulysses,  his  long  labours  end.  145 

Here  wand'ring  Achaemenides  he  meets, 
And  sudden  thus  his  late  associate  greets :        [bound  » 

W hence  came  you  here,   O  friend,  and  whither 
All  deem'd  you  lost  on  far  Cyclopean  ground; 
A  Greek's  at  last  aboard  a  Trojan  found.  150 

Thus  Achaemenides:— With  thanks  I  name 
./Eneas,  and  his  piety  proclaim. 
I  'scap'd  the  Cyclops  through  the  hero's  aid, 
Else  in  his  maw  my  mangled  limbs  had  laid. 
When  first  your  navy  under  sail  he  found,  155 

He  rav'd,  till  ^Etna  labour'd  with  the  sound. 
Raging  he  stalk'd  along  the  mountain's  sidej 
And  vented  clouds  of  breath  at  ev'ry  stride,  ' 
His  staff  a  mountain  ash ;  and  in  the  clouds, 
Oft,  as  he  walks,  his  grisly  front  he  shrouds.  160 

Eyeless  he  grop'd  about,  with  vengeful  haste, 
And  justled  promontories,  as  he  pass'd, 
Then  heav'd  a  rock's  high  summit  to  the  main, 
And  bellow'd,  like  some  bursting  hurricane. 

Oh!  could  I  seize  Ulysses  in  his  flight,  165 

How  unlamented  were  my  loss  of  sight! 
These  jaws  should  piece-meal  tear  each  panting  vein, 
Grind  ev'ry  cracking  bone,  and  pound  his  brain. 
As  thus  he  rav'd,  my  joints  with  horror  shook; 
The  tide  of  blood  my  chilling  heart  forsook;  170 

I  saw  him  once  disgorge  huge  morsels,  raw, 
Of  wretches  undigested  in  his  maw. 
From  the  pale  breathless  trunks,  whole  limbs  he  tore, 
His  beard  all  clotted  with  o'erflowing  gore. 
My  anxious  hours  I  pass'd  in  caves ;  my  food         175 


Was  forest  fruits,  and  wildiners  of  the  wood. 
At  length  a  sail  I  wafted,  and  aboard 
My  fortune  found  an  hospitable  lord. 

Now  in  return  your  own  adventures  tell, 
And  what,  since  first  you  put  to  sea,  befell.  180 

Then  Macareus : — There  reign'd  a  prince  of  fame 
O'er  Tuscan  seas,  and  iEblus  his  name. 
A  largess  to  Ulysses  he  consign 'd, 
And  in  a  steer's  tough  hide  inclos'd  a  wind. 
Nine  days  before  the  swelling  gale  we  ran :  185 

The  tenth,  to  make  the  meeting  land,  began : 
When  now  the  merry  mariners,  to  find 
Imagin'd  wealth  within,  the  bag  unbind. 
Forthwith  out  rush'd  a  gust,  which  backwards  bore 
Our  galleys  to  the  Lasstrigonian  shore,  190 

Whose  crown  Antiphates  the  tyrant  wore. 
Some  few  commission'd  were  with  speed  to  treat ; 
We  to  his  court  repair,  his  guards  we  meet. 

Two,  friendly  flight  preserv'd :  the  third  was  dooiu'd 
To  be  by  those  curst  cannibals  consum'd.  195 

Inhumanly  our  hapless  friends  they  treat ; 
Our  men  they  murder,  and  destroy  our  fleet. 
In  time  the  wise  Ulysses  bore  away, 
And  dropp'd  his  anchor  in  yon  faithless  bay. 
The  thoughts  of  perils  past  we  still  retain,  200 

And  fear  to  land,  till  lots  appoint  the  men. 
Polites  true,  Elpenor  giv'n  to  wine, 
Eurylochus,  myself,  the  lots  assign. 
Design'd  for  dangers,  and  resolv'd  to  dare, 
To  Circe's  fatal  palace  we  repair.  205 

Before  the  spacious  front,  a  herd  we  find 
Of  beasts,  the  fiercest  of  the  savage  kind. 
Our  trembling  steps  with  blandishments  they  meet, 
And  fawn,  unlike  their  species,  at  our  feet. 
Within,  upon  a  sumptuous  throne  of  state,  210 

On  golden  columns  rais'd,  th'  enchantress  sat. 
Rich  was  her  robe,  and  amiable  her  mien, 
Her  aspect  awful,  and  she  look'd  a  queen. 
Her  maids  nor  mind  the  loom,  nor  household  care, 

BOOK  XIV.  3G3 

Nor  wage  in  needle-work  a  Scythian  war;  21.5 

But  cull,  in  canisters,  disastrous  flow'rs, 

And  plants  from  haunted  heaths  and  fairy  bow'rs, 

With  brazen  sickles  reap'd  at  planetary  hours. 

Each  dose  the  goddess  weighs  with  watchful  eye ; 

So  nice  her  art  in  impious  pharmacy!  220 

Ent'ring,  she  greets  us  with  a  gracious  look 

And  airs,  that  future  amity  bespoke. 

Her  ready  nymphs  serve  up  a  rich  repast; 

The  bowl  she  dashes  first,  then  gives  to  taste. 

Quick  to  our  own  undoing,  we  comply ;  22.5 

Her  pow'r  we  prove,  and  shew  the  sorcery. 

Soon,  in  a  length  of  face,  our  head  extends; 
Our  chine  stiff  bristles  bears,  and  forward  bends : 
A  breadth  of  brawn  new  burnishes  our  neck  ; 
Anon  we  grunt,  as  we  begin  to  speak.  230 

Alone  Eurylochus  refus'd  to  taste, 
Nor  to  a  beast  obscene  the  man  debas'd. 
Hither  Ulysses  hastes  (so  fates  command), 
And  bears  the  pow'rful  moly  in  his  hand ; 
Unsheaths  his  scimitar,  assaults  the  dame,  235 

Preserves  his  species,  and  remains  the  same. 
The  nuptial  rite  this  outrage  straight  attends ; 
The  dow'r  desir'd  is  his  transfigur'd  friends. 
The  incantation  backward  she  repeats, 
Inverts  her  rod,  and  what  she  did,  defeats.  240 

And  now  our  skin  grows  smooth,  our  shape  upright ; 
Our  arms  stretch  up,  our  cloven  feet  unite. 
With  tears  our  weeping  gen'ral  we  embrace ; 
Hang  on  his  neck,  and  melt  upon  his  face. 
Twelve  silver  moons  in  Circe's  court  we  stay,         245 
Whilst  there  we  waste  th'  unwilling  hours  away. 
'Twas  here  I  spy'd  a  youth  in  Parian  stone; 
His  head  a  pecker  bore ;  the  cause  unknown 
To  passengers.    A  nymph  of  Circe's  train 
The  myst'ry  thus  attempted  to  explain.  250 

Picus,  who  once  th'  Ausonian  sceptre  held, 
Could  rein  the  steed,  and  fit  him  for  the  field. 
So  like  he  was  to  what  you  see,  that  still 
We  doubt  if  real,  or  the  sculptor's  skill. 
The  graces  in  the  finish'd  piece,  you  find,  255 


Are  but  the  copy  of  his  fairer  mind. 

Four  lustres  scarce  the  royal  youth  could  name, 

Till  ev'ry  love-sick  nymph  confessed  a  flame. 

Oft  for  his  love  the  mountain  Dryads  su'd, 

And  ev'ry  silver  sister  of  the  flood:  2C0 

Those  of  Numicus,  Albula,  and  those 

Where  Almo  creeps,  and  hasty  Nar  o'erflows  : 

Where  sedgy  Anio  glides  through  smiling  meads, 

Where  shady  Farfar  rustles  in  the  reeds; 

And  those  that  love  the  lakes,  and  homage  owe      265 

To  the  chaste  goddess  of  the  silver  bow. 

In  vain  each  nymph  her  brightest  charms  put  on, 
His  heart  no  sov'reign  would  obey  but  one. 
She  whom  Venilia,  on  Mount  Palatine, 
To  Janus  bore,  the  fairest  of  her  line.  270 

Nor  did  her  face  alone  her  charms  confess, 
Her  voice  was  ravishing,  and  pleas'd  no  less. 
Whene'er  she  sung,  so  melting  were  her  strains, 
The  flocks  unfed  seem'd  list'ning  on  the  plains ; 
The  rivers  would  stand  still,  the  cedars  bend;  275 

The  birds  neglect  their  pinions,  to  attend; 
The  savage  kind  in  forest-wilds  grow  tame  ; 
And  Canens,  from  her  heavenly  voice,  her  name. 

Hymen  had  now  in  some  ill-fated  hour 
Their  hands  united,  as  there  hearts  before.  280 

Whilst  their  soft  moments  in  delights  they  waste, 
And  each  new  day  was  dearer  than  the  past; 
Picus  would  sometimes  o'er  the  forests  rove, 
And  mingle  sports  with  intervals  of  love. 
It  chane'd,  as  once  the  foaming  boar  he  chas'd,      285 
His  jewels  sparkling  on  his  Tyrian  vest, 
Lascivious  Circe  well  the  youth  survey'd, 
As  simpling  on  the  flow'ry  hills  she  stray'd. 
Her  wishing  eyes  their  silent  message  tell, 
And  from  her  lap  the  verdant  mischief  fell.  290 

As  she  attempts  at  words,  his  courser  springs 
O'er  hills,  and  lawns,  and  e'en  a  wish  outwings. 

Thou  shalt  not  'scape  me  so,  pronoune'd  the 
If  plants  have  pow'r,  and  spells  be  not  a  name. 
She  said  ; — and  forthwith  form'd  a  boar  of  air,       295 
That  sought  the  covert  with  dissembled  fear. 

BOOK  XIV.  365 

Swift  to  the  thicket  Picus  wings  his  way 
On  foot  to  chase  the  visionary  prey. 

Now  she  invokes  the  daughters  of  the  night, 
Does  noxious  juices  smear,  and  charms  recite :       300 
Such  as  can  veil  the  moon's  more  feeble  fire, 
Or  shade  the  golden  lustre  of  her  sire. 
In  filthy  fogs  she  hides  the  cheerful  noon  ; 
The  guard  at  distance,  and  the  youth  alone. 
By  those  fair  eyes  (she  cries),  and  ev'ry  grace         305 
That  finish  all  the  wonders  of  your  face, 
O!  I  conjure  thee,  hear  a  queen  complain, 
Nor  let  the  Sun's  soft  lineage  sue  in  vain. 

Whoe'er  thou  art  (reply'd  the  king),  forbear, 
None  can  my  passion  with  my  Canens  share.         310 
She  first  my  ev'ry  tender  wish  possess'd, 
And  found  the  soft  approaches  to  my  breast. 
In  nuptials  blest,  each  loose  desire  we  shun, 
Nor  time  can  end,  what  innocence  begun. 

Think  not  (she  cry'd)  to  saunter  out  a  life  315 

Of  form,  with  that  domestic  drudge,  a  wife; 
My  just  revenge,  dull  fool,  ere  lung  shall  shew 
What  ills  we  women,  if  refus'd,  can  do; 
Think  me  a  woman,  and  a  lover  too. 
From  dear  successful  spite  we  hope  for  ease,  320 

Nor  fail  to  punish,  where  we  fail  to  please. 

Now  twice  to  east  she  turns,  as  oft  to  west : 
Thrice   waves   her   wand,  as   oft  her   charms   ex- 

On  the  lost  youth  her  magic  pow'r  she  tries; 
Aloft  he  springs,  and  wonders  how  he  Hies.  325 

On  painted  plumes  the  woods  he  seeks,  and  still 
The  monarch  oak  he  pierces  with  his  bill. 
Thus  chang'd,  no  more  o'er  Latian  lands  he  reigns ; 
Of  Picus  nothing  but  the  name  remains. 

The  winds  from   drisling  damps  now  purge 

the  air,  330 

The  mist  subsides,  the  settling  skies  are  fair : 
The  court  their  sov  reign  seek  with  arms  in  hand, 
They  threaten  Circe,  and  their  lord  demand. 
Quick  she  invokes  the  spirits  of  the  air, 
And  twilight  elves,  that  on  dun  wings  repair  335 

To  enamels,  and  th'  unhallow'd  sepulchre. 


Now,  strange  to  tell,  the  plants  sweat  drops  of  blood, 
The  trees  are  toss'd  from  forests  where  they  stood ; 
Blue  serpents,  o'er  the  tainted  herbage  slide, 
Pale  glaring  spectres  on  the  aether  ride  ;  340 

Dogs  howl,  earth  yawns,rent  rocks  forsake  their  beds, 
And  from  their  quarries  heave  their  stubborn  heads. 
The  sad  spectators,  stiffen'd  with  their  fears, 
She  sees,  and  sudden  ev'ry  limb  she  smears; 
Then  each  of  savage  beasts  the  figure  bears.  345 

The  Sun  did  now  to  western  waves  retire, 
In  tides  to  temper  his  bright  world  of  fire. 
Canens  lament  her  royal  husband's  stay; 
111  suits  fond  love  with  absence  or  delay. 
Where  she  commands,  her  ready  people  run ;  350 

She  wills,  retracts  ;  bids,  and  forbids  anon. 
Restless  in  mind,  and  dying  with  despair, 
Her  breasts  she  beats,  and  tears  her  flowing  hair. 
Six  days  and  nights  she  wanders  on  as  chance 
Directs,  without  or  sleep,  or  sustenance.  355 

Tiber  at  last  beholds  the  weeping  fair; 
Her  feeble  limbs  no  more  the  mourner  bear; 
Stretch'd  on  his  banks,  she  to  the  flood  complains, 
And  faintly  tunes  her  voice  to  dying  strains. 
The  sick'ning  swan  thus  hangs  her  silver  wings,    360 
And,  as  she  droops,  her  elegy  she  sings. 
Ere  long  sad  Canens  wastes  to  air;  whilst  fame 
The  place  still  honours  with  her  hapless  name. 

Here  did  the  tender  tale  of  Picus  cease, 
Above  belief,  the  wonder  I  confers.  3C5 

Again  we  sail,  but  more  disasters  meet, 
Foretold  by  Circe,  to  our  suff'ring  fleet. 
Myself,  unable  further  woes  to  bear, 
Declin'd  the  voyage,  and  am  refug'd  here. 

Thus  Macareus. — Now  with  a  pious  aim  370 

Had  good  iEneas  rais'd  a  fun'ral  flame, 
In  honour  of  his  hoary  nurse's  name. 
Her  epitaph  he  fix.'d  ;  and,  setting  sail, 
Caieta  left,  and  catch'd  at  ev'ry  gale. 

He  steer'd  at  distance  from  the  faithless  shore,    375 
Where  the  false  goddess  reigns  with  fatal  pow'r; 

BOOK  XIV.  367 

And  sought  those  grateful    groves  that  shade  the 

Where  Tiber  rolls  majestic  to  the  main, 
And  fattens,  as  he  runs,  the  fair  campaign. 

His  kindred  gods  the  hero's  wishes  crown  380 

With  fair  Lavinia,  and  Latinus'  throne : 
But  not  without  a  war  the  prize  he  won. 
Drawn  up  in  bright  array  the  battle  stands : 
Turnus  with  arms  his  promis'd  wife  demands. 
Hetrurians,  Latians,  equal  fortune  share;  385 

And  doubtful  long  appears  the  face  of  war. 
Both   pow'rs  from   neighb'ring  princes  seek 

And  embassies  appoint  for  new  allies. 
./Eneas,  for  relief,  Evander  moves ; 
His  quarrel  he  asserts,  his  cause  approves.  390 

The  bold  Rutulians,  with  an  equal  speed, 
Sage  Venulus  dispatch  to  Diomede. 
The  king,  late  griefs  revolving  in  his  mind, 
These  reasons  for  neutrality  assign'd : 

Shall  I,  of  one  poor  dotal  town  possest,  395 

My  people  thin,  my  wretched  country  waste; 
An  exil'd  prince,  and  on  a  shaking  throne; 
Or  risk  my  patron's  subjects,  or  my  own? 
You'll  grieve  the  harshness  of  our  hap  to  hear ; 
Nor  can  I  tell  the  tale  without  a  tear.  400 

After  fam'd  Ilium  was  by  Argives  won, 
And  flames  had  finish'd,  what  the  sword  begun ; 
Pallas,  incens'd,  pursu'd  us  to  the  main, 
In  vengeance  of  her  violated  fane. 
Alone  Oileus  forc'd  the  Trojan  maid,  405 

Yet  all  were  punish'd  for  the  brutal  deed. 
A  storm  begins,  the  raging  waves  run  high, 
The  clouds  look  heavy,  and  benight  the  sky; 
Red  sheets  of  lightning  o'er  the  seas  are  spread, 
Our  tackling  yields,  and  wrecks  at  last  succeed.      410 
'Tis  tedious  our  disastrous  state  to  tell ; 
E'en  Priam  would  have  pitied  what  befell. 
Yet  Pallas  sav'd  me  from  the  swallowing  main ; 
At  home  new  wrongs  to  meet,  as  fates  ordain. 


Chas'd  from  my  country,  I  once  more  repeat  41 5 

All  suff'ring  seas  could  give,  or  war  complete. 

For  Venus,  mindful  of  her  wound,  decreed 

Still  new  calamities  should  past  succeed. 

Agmon,  impatient  through  successive  ills, 

With  fury,  Love's  bright  goddess,  thus  reviles :       420 

These  plagues  in  spite  to  Diomede  are  sent; 

The  crime  is  his,  but  ours  the  punishment. 

Let  each,  my  friends,  her  puny  spleen  despise, 

And  dare  that  haughty  harlot  of  the  skies. 

The  rest  of  Agmon's  insolence  complain,  425 

And  of  irreverence  the  wretch  arraign. 
About  to  answer,  his  blaspheming  throat 
Contracts,  and  shrieks  in  some  disdainful  note. 
To  his  new  skin  a  fleece  of  feather  clings, 
Hides  his  late  arms,  and  lengthens  into  wings.       430 
The  lower  features  of  his  face  extend, 
Warp  into  horn,  and  in  a  beak  descend. 
Some  more  experience  Agmon's  destiny, 
And  wheeling  in  the  air,  like  swans  they  fly. 
These  thin  remains  to  Daunus'  realms  I  bring,        435 
And  here  I  reign,  a  poor  precarious  king. 

Thus  Diomedes. — Venulus  withdraws ; 
Unsped  the  service  of  the  common  cause. 
Puteoli  he  passes,  and  survey'd 

A  cave  long  honour'd  for  its  awful  shade.  440 

Here  trembling  reeds  exclude  the  piercing  ray, 
Here  streams,   in  gentle  falls,   through   windings 

And  with  a  passing  breath  cool  zephyrs  play. 
The  goatherd  god  frequents  the  silent  place, 
As  once  the  wood-nymphs  of  the  sylvan  race,         445 
Till  Appulus,  ■with  a  dishonest  air, 
And  gross  behaviour,  banish'd  thence  the  fair. 
The  bold  buffoon,  whene'er  they  tread  the  green, 
Their  motion  mimics,  but  with  jest  obscene. 
Loose  language  oft  he  utters  ;  but  ere  long  450 

A  bark,  in  filmy  net-work,  binds  his  tongue. 
Thus  chang'd,  a  base  wild  olive  he  remains; 
The  shrub  the  coarseness  of  the  clown  retains. 

BOOK  XIV.  369 

Meanwhile  the  Latians  all  their  pow'r  prepare, 
'Gainst  fortune,  and  the  foe,  to  push  the  war.         455 
With  Phrygian  blood  the  floating  fields  they  stain ; 
But,  short  of  succours,  still  contend  in  rain. 
Turnus  remarks  the  Trojan  fleet  ill  mann'd, 
Unguarded,  and  at  anchor  near  the  strand ; 
He  thought ;  and  straight  a  lighted  brand  he  bore,  460 
And  fire  invades,  what  'scap'd  the  waves  before. 
The  billows  from  the  kindling  prow  retire  ; 
Pitch,  rosin,  searwood  on  red  wings  aspire, 
And  Vulcan  on  the  seas  exerts  his  attribute  of  fire. 

This,  when  the  mother  of  the  gods  beheld,  405 

Her  tow'ry  crown  she  shook,  and  stood  reveal'd; 
Her  brindled  lions  rein'd,  unveil'd  her  head, 
And  hov'ring  o'er  her  favour 'd  fleet,  she  said: 

Cease,  Turnus,  and  the  heav'nly  pow'rs  respect, 
Nor  dare  to  violate,  what  I  protect.  470 

These  galleys,  once  fair  trees  on  Ida  stood, 
And  gave  their  shade  to  each  descending  god, 
Nor  shall  consume;  irrevocable  Fate 
Allots  their  being  no  determin'd  date. 

Straight  peals  of  thunder  heav'n's  high  arches 
rend,  *  475 

The  hailstones  leap,  the  show'rs  in  spouts  descend. 
The  winds  with  widen'd  throats  the  signal  give, 
The  cables  break,  the  smoking  vessels  drive. 
Now  wondrous,  as  they  beat  the  foaming  flood, 
The  timber  softens  into  flesh  and  blood ;  480 

The  yards  and  oars  new  arms,  and  legs  design; 
A  trunk  the  hull ;  the  slender  keel,  a  spine ; 
The  prow,  a  female  face  ;  and  by  degrees 
The  galleys  rise  green  daughters  of  the  seas. 
Sometimes  on  coral  beds  they  sit  in  state,  4S5 

Or  wanton  on  the  waves  they  fear'd  of  late. 
The  barks  that  beat  the  seas  are  still  their  care, 
Themselves  rememb'ring  what  of  late  they  were  ; 
To  save  a  Trojan  sail  in  throngs  they  press, 
But  smile  to  see  Alcinoiis  in  distress.  490 

Unable  were  those  wonders  to  deter 
The  Latians  from  their  unsuccessful  war. 
R  2 


Both  sides  for  doubtful  victory  contend ; 

And  on  their  courage,  and  their  gods  depend. 

Nor  bright  Lavinia,  nor  Latinus'  crown,  495 

Warm  their  great  soul  to  war,  like  fair  renown. 

Venus  at  last  beholds  her  godlike  son 

Triumphant,  and  the  field  of  battle  won ; 

Brave  Turnus  slain,  strong  Ardea  but  a  name, 

And  buried  in  fierce  deluges  of  flame.  500 

Her  tow'rs,  that  boasted  once  a  sov'reign  sway, 

The  fate  of  fancied  grandeur  now  betray. 

A  famish'd  heron  from  the  ashes  springs, 

And  beats  the  ruin  with  disastrous  wings. 

Calamities  of  towns  distrest  she  feigns,  505 

And  oft,  with  woeful  shrieks,  of  war  complains. 

Now  had  ^Eneas,  as  ordain'd  by  fate, 
Surviv'd  the  period  of  Saturnia's  hate; 
And  by  a  sure,  irrevocable  doom, 
Fix'd  the  immortal  majesty  of  Rome.  5(0 

Fit  for  the  station  of  his  kindred  stars, 
His  mother  goddess  thus  her  suit  prefers: 

'  Almighty  arbiter,  whose  pow'rful  nod 
Shakes  distant  earth,  and  bows  our  own  abode ; 
To  thy  great  progeny  indulgent  be,  51. 0 

And  rank  the  goddess-born  a  deity. 
Already  has  he  view'd,  with  mortal  eyes, 
Thy  brother's  kingdoms  of  the  nether  skies.' 

Forthwith  a  conclave  of  the  godhead  meets, 
Where  Juno  in  the  shining  senate  sits.  520 

Remorse  for  past  revenge  the  goddess  feels ; 
Then  thund'ring  Jove  th'  almighty  mandate  seals ; 
Allots  the  prince  of  his  celestial  line 
An  apotheosis,  and  rites  divine. 

The  crystal  mansions  echo  with  applause,  525 

And,  with    her    graces,  Love's   bright  queen   with- 
Shoots  in  a  blaze  of  light  along  the  skies, 
And,  borne  by  turtles,  to  Laurentum  flies ; 
Alights,  where  through  the  reeds  Numicius  strays, 
And  to  the  seas  his  wat'ry  tribute  pays.  530 

The  god  she  supplicates  to  wash  away 
The  parts  more  gross,  and  subject  to  decay, 

BOOK  XIV.  371 

And  cleanse  the  goddess-born  from  seminal  allay. 
The  horned  flood  with  glad  attention  stands, 
Then  bids  his  streams  obey  their  sire's  commands. 

His  better  parts  by  lustral  waves  refin'd,  536 

More  pure,  and  nearer  to  ethereal  mind  ; 
With  gums  of  fragrant  scent  the  goddess  strews, 
And  on  his  features  breathes  ambrosial  dews. 
Thus  deified,  new  honours  Rome  decrees,  MO 

Shrines,  festivals;  and  styles  him  Indiges. 

Ascanius  now  the  Latian  sceptre  sways : 
The  Alban  nation,  Sylvius,  next  obeys; 
The  young  Latinus :  next  an  Alba  came, 
The  grace  and  guardian  of  the  Alban  name.  545 

Then  Epitus:  then  gentle  Capys  reign'd; 
Then  Capetus  the  regal  pow'r  sustain 'd. 
Next  he,  who  perish 'd  on  the  Tuscan  flood, 
And  honour'd  with  his  name  the  river  god. 
Now  haughty  Romulus  begun  his  reign,  550 

Who  fell  by  thunder  he  aspir'd  to  feign. 
Meek  Acrota  succeeded  to  the  crown ; 
From  peace  endeav'ring,  more  than  arms,  renown, 
To  Aventinus  well  resign'd  his  throne. 
The   mount,  on  which   he  rul'd,  preserves  his 

name,  555 

And  Procas  wore  the  regal  diadem. 

A  Hama-dryad  flourish'd  in  these  days, 
Her  name  Pomona,  from  her  woodland  race. 
In  garden  culture  none  could  her  excel, 
Or  form  the  pliant  souls  of  plants  so  well;  560 

Or  to  the  fruit  more  gen'rous  flavours  lend, 
Or  teach  the  trees  with  nobler  loads  to  bend. 

The  nymph  frequented  not  the  flatt'ring  stream, 
Nor  meads,  the  subject  of  a  virgin's  dream ; 
But  to  such  joys  her  nurs'ry  did  prefer,  565 

Alone  to  tend  her  vegetable  care. 
A  pruning  hook  she  carried  in  her  hand, 
And  taught  the  stragglers  to  obey  command; 
Lest  the  licentious  and  unthrifty  bough, 
The  too  indulgent  parent  should  undo.  570 

She  shews,  how  stocks  invite  to  their  embrace 


A  graft,  and  naturalize  a  foreign  race 

To  mend  the  salvage  teint ;  and  in  its  stead 

Adopt  new  nature  and  a  nobler  breed. 

Now  hourly  she  observes  her  growing  care,         575 
And  guards  their  nonage  from  the  bleaker  air ; 
Then  opes  her  streaming  sluices,  to  supply 
With  flowing  draughts  her  thirsty  family. 

Long  had  she  labour'd  to  continue  free 
From  chains  of  love,  and  nuptial  tyranny;  580 

And  in  her  orchard's  small  extent  immur'd, 
Her  vow'd  virginity  she  still  secur'd. 
Oft  would  loose  Pan,  and  all  the  lustful  train 
Of  satyrs,  tempt  her  innocence  in  vain. 
Silenus,  that  old  dotard,  own'd  a  flame;  585 

And  he,  that  frights  the  thieves  with  stratagem 
Of  sword,  and  something  else  too  gross  to  name. 
Vertumnus  too  pursued  the  maid  no  less ; 
But,  with  his  rivals,  shard  a  like  success. 
To  gain  access,  a  thousand  ways  he  tries  ;  590 

Oft  in  the  hind,  the  lover  would  disguise, 
The  heedless  lout  comes  shambling  on,  and  seems 
Just  sweating  from  the  labour  of  his  teams. 
Then,  from  the  harvest,  oft  the  mimic  swain 
Seems  bending  with  a  load  of  bearded  grain.  595 

Sometimes  a  dresser  of  the  vine  he  feigns, 
And  lawless  tendrils  to  their  bounds  restrains. 
Sometimes  his  sword  a  soldier  shews;  his  rod 
An  angler ;  still  so  various  is  the  god. 
Now,  in  a  forehead-cloth,  some  crone  he  seems,      GOO 
A  staff  supplying  the  defect  of  limbs : 
Admittance  thus  he  gains;  admires  the  store 
Of  fairest  fruit ;  the  fair  possessor  more  ; 
Then  greets  her  with  a  kiss :  Th'  unpractis'd  dame 
Admir'd,  a  grandame  kiss'd  with  such  a  flame.       605 
Now  seated  by  her,  he  beholds  a  vine, 
Around  an  elm  in  am'rous  foldings  twine. 
If  that  fair  elm  (he  cry'd)  alone  should  stand, 
No  grapes  would  glow  with  gold,  and  tempt  the  hand ; 
Or  if  that  vine  without  her  elm  should  grow,         610 
'Twould  creep  a  poor  neglected  shrub  below. 
Be  then,  fair  nymph,  by  these  examples  led; 
Nor  shun,  for  fancied  fears,  the  nuptial  bed* 

BOOK  XIV.  373 

Not  she  for  whom  the  Lapithites  took  arms, 

Nor  Sparta's  queen  could  boast  such  heavenly  charms; 

And  if  you  would  on  woman's  faith  rely,  616 

None  can  your  choice  direct  so  well  as  I. 

Though  old,  so  much  Pomona  I  adore, 

Scarce  does  the  bright  Vertumnus  love  her  more. 

*Tis  your  fair  self  alone  his  breast  inspires  620 

With  softest  wishes,  and  unsoil'd  desires. 

Then  fly  all  vulgar  followers,  and  prove 

The  god  of  Seasons  only  worth  your  love. 

On  my  assurance  well  you  may  repose ; 

Vertumnus  scarce  Vertumnus  better  knows.  625 

True  to  his  choice,  all  looser  flames  he  flies; 

Nor  for  new  faces  fashionably  dies. 

The  charms  of  youth,  and  ev'ry  smiling  grace 

Bloom  in  his  features,  and  the  god  confess. 

Besides,  he  puts  on  every  shape  at  ease  ;  630 

But  those  the  most  that  best  Pomona  please. 

Still  to  oblige  her,  is  her  lover's  aim  ; 

Their  likings  and  aversions  are  the  same. 

Nor  the  fair  fruit  your  burthen'd  branches  bear ; 

Nor  all  the  youthful  product  of  the  year,  635 

Gould  bribe  his  choice  ;  your  self  alone  could  prove 

A  fit  reward  for  so  refin'd  a  love. 

Relent,  fair  nymph,  and  with  a  kind  regret, 

Think  'tis  Vertumnus  weeping  at  your  feet. 

A  tale  attend,  through  Cyprus  known,  to  prove      640 

How  Venus  once  reveng'd  neglected  love. 

Iphis,  of  vulgar  birth,  by  chance  had  view'd 
Fair  Anaxarete,  of  Teucer's  blood. 
Not  long  had  he  beheld  the  royal  dame, 
Ere  the  bright  sparkle  kindled  into  flame.  645 

Oft  did  he  struggle  with  a  just  despair, 
Unfix'd  to  ask,  unable  to  forbear. 
But  love,  who  flatters  still  his  own  disease, 
Hopes  all  things  will  succeed,  he  knows  will  please. 
Where'er  the  fair  one  haunts,  he  hovers  there  :      650 
And  seeks  her  confident  with  sighs  and  pray'r. 
Or  letters  he  conveys,  that  seldom  prove 
Successless  messengers  in  suits  of  love. 

Now  shiv'ring  at  her  gates  the  wretch  appears, 


And  myrtle  garlands  on  the  columns  rears,  655 

Wet  with  a  deluge  of  unbidden  tears. 

The  nymph,  more  hard  than  rocks,  more  deaf  than 

Derides  his  pray'rs,  insults  his  agonies;  [seas, 

Arraigns  of  insolence  th'  aspiring  swain, 

And  takes  a  cruel  pleasure  in  his  pain.  CO** 

Resolv'd  at  last  to  finish  his  despair, 

He  thus  upbraids  th'  inexorable  fair : 

O  Anaxarete,  at  last  forget 
The  licence  of  a  passion  indiscreet. 
Now  triumph,  since  a  welcome  sacrifice  665 

Your  slave  prepares  to  oner  to  your  eyes. 
My  life,  without  reluctance,  I  resign  ; 
That  present  best  can  please  a  pride  like  thine. 
But,  O,  forbear  to  blast  a  flame  so  bright, 
Doom'd  never  to  expire,  but  with  the  light.  670 

And  you,  great  pow'rs,  do  justice  to  my  name : 
The  hours  you  take  from  life,  restore  to  fame. 

Then  o'er  the  posts,  once  hung  with  wreaths,  he 
The  ready  cord,  and  fits  the  fatal  noose  ; 
For  death  prepares ;  and,  bounding  from  above,      675 
At  once  the  wretch  concludes  his  life  and  love. 

Ere  long  the  people  gather,  and  the  dead 
Is  to  his  mourning  mother's  arms  convey'd. 
First,  like  some  gbastly  statue,  she  appears ; 
Then  bathes  the  breathless  corse  in  seas  of  tears,     C80 
And  gives  it  to  the  pile;  now  as  the  throng 
Proceed  in  sad  solemnity  along, 
To  view  the  passing  pomp,  the  cruel  fair 
Hastes,  and  beholds  her  breathless  lover  there. 
Struck  with  the  sight,  inanimate  she  seems ;  685 

Set  are  her  eyes,  and  motionless  her  limbs; 
Her  features  wiihout  fire,  her  colour  gone, 
And,  like  her  heart,  she  hardens  into  stone. 
In  Salamis  the  statue  still  is  seen, 
In  the  fam'd  temple  of  the  Cyprian  queen.  690 

Warn'd  by  this  tale,  no  longer  then  disdain, 
O  nymph  belov'd,  to  ease  a  lover's  pain. 
So  may  the  frosts  in  spring  your  blossoms  spare, 
And  winds  their  rude  autumnal  rage  forbear. 

BOOK  XIV.  375 

The  story  oft  Vertumnus  urg'd  in  vain,  695 

But  then  assum'd  his  heav'nly  form  again. 
Such  looks  and  lustre  the  bright  youth  adorn, 
As  when  with  rays  glad  Phoebus  paints  the  morn. 
The  sight  so  warms  the  fair  admiring  maid, 
Like  snow  she  melts  ;  so  soon  can  youth  persuade.  700 
Consent  on  eager  wings  succeeds  desire ; 
And  both  the  lovers  glow  with  mutual  fire. 

Now  Procas  yielding  to  the  fates,  his  son 
Mild  Numitor  succeeded  to  the  crown. 
But  false  Amulius,  with  a  lawless  pow'r,  705 

At  length  depos'd  his  brother  Numitor. 
Then  Ilia's  valiant  issue,  with  the  sword, 
Her  parent  re-enthron'd  the  rightful  lord. 
Next  Romulus  to  people  Rome  contrives ; 
The  joyous  time  of  Pales'  feast  arrives  ;  710 

He  gives  the  word  to  seize  the  Sabine  wives. 
The  sires,  enrag'd,  take  arms,  by  Tatius  led, 
Bold  to  revenge  their  violated  bed. 
A  fort  there  was,  not  yet  unknown  to  fame, 
Call'd  the  Tarpeian,  its  commander's  name.  715 

This  by  the  false  Tarpeia  was  betray'd, 
But  death  well  recompens'd  the  treach'rous  maid. 
The  foe  on  this  new-bought  success  relies, 
And  silent  march  the  city  to  surprise. 
Saturnia's  arts  with  Sabine  arms  combine,  720 

But  Venus  countermines  the  vain  design  ; 
Intreats  the  nymphs  that  o'er  the  springs  preside, 
Which  near  the  fane  of  hoary  Janus  glide, 
To  send  their  succours;  ev'ry  urn  they  drain, 
To  stop  the  Sabines'  progress,  but  in  vain.  725 

The  Naiads  now  more  stratagems  essay; 
And  kindling  sulphur  to  each  source  convey. 
The  floods  ferment,  hot  exhalations  rise, 
Till  from  the  scalding  ford  the  army  flies. 
Soon  Romulus  appears  in  shining  arms,  730 

And  to  the  war  the  Roman  legions  warms. 
The  battle  rages,  and  the  field  is  spread 
With  nothing  but  the  dying  and  the  dead. 
Both  sides  consent  to  treat  without  delay, 
And  their  two  chiefs  at  once  the  sceptre  sway.        735 


But  Tatius  by  Lavinian  fury  slain ; 
Great  Romulus  continued  long  to  reign. 

Now  warrior  Mars  his  burnish'd  helm  puts  on, 
And  thus  addresses  heav'n's  imperial  throne : 

Since  the  inferior  world  is  now  become  740 

One -vassal  globe,  and  colony  to  Rome, 
This  grace,  0  Jove,  for  Romulus  I  claim, 
Admit  him  to  the  skies,  from  whence  he  came. 
Long  hast  thou  promis'd  an  ethereal  state 
To  Mars's  lineage ;  and  thy  word  is  fate.  745 

The  sire  that  rules  the  thunder,  with  a  nod 
Declar'd  the  fiat,  and  dismiss'd  the  god. 

Soon  as  the  pow'r  armipotent  survey'd 
The  flashing  skies,  the  signal  he  obey'd; 
And  leaning  on  his  lance  he  mounts  his  car,  750 

His  fiery  coursers  lashing  through  the  air. 
Mount  Palatine  he  gains,  and  finds  his  son 
Good  laws  enacting  on  a  peaceful  throne  ; 
The  scales  of  heav'nly  justice  holding  high, 
With  steady  hand,  and  a  discerning  eye.  755 

Then  vaults  upon  his  car,  and  to  the  spheres, 
Swift  as  a  flying  shaft,  Rome's  founder  bears. 
The  parts  more  pure  in  rising  are  refin'd, 
The  gross  and  perishable  lag  behind. 
His  shrine  in  purple  vestments  stands  in  view ;         760 
He  looks  a  god,  and  is  Quirinus  now. 

Ere  long  the  goddess  of  the  nuptial  bed, 
With  pity  mov'd,  sends  Iris  in  her  stead 
To  sad  Hersilia.    Thus  the  meteor  maid: 

Chaste  relict!  in  bright  truth  to  heav'n  allied,     765 
The  Sabine's  glory  and  the  sex's  pride ; 
Honour'd  on  earth,  and  worthy  of  the  love 
Of  such  a  spouse  as  now  resides  above, 
Some  respite  to  thy  killing  griefs  afford; 
And  if  thou  wouldst  once  more  behold  thy  lord,      770 
Retire  to  yon  steep  mount  with  groves  o'erspread, 
Which  with  an  awful  gloom  his  temples  shade. 

With  fear  the  modest  matron  lifts  her  eyes. 
And  to  the  bright  ambassadress  replies  : 

O  goddess,  yet  to  mortal  eyes  unknown,  775 

But  sure  thy  various  charms  confess  thee  one : 

BOOK  XV.  377 

O,  quick  to  Romulus  thy  votress  bear, 
With  looks  of  love  he'll  smile  away  my  care: 
In  whate'er  orb  he  shines,  my  heav'n  is  there. 

Then  hastes  with  Iris  to  the  holy  grove,  780 

And  up  the  mount  Quirinal  as  they  move, 
A  lambent  flame  glides  downward  through  the  air, 
And  brightens  with  ablaze  Hersilia's  hair. 
Together  on  the  bounding  ray  they  rise, 
And  shoot  a  gleam  of  light  along  the  skies.  785 

With  op'ning  arms  Quirinus  met  his  bride, 
Now  Ora  nam'd,  and  press'd  her  to  his  side. 



The  Pythagorean  philosophy.  The  story  of  Hippolytus.  Egeria 
transformed  to  a  fountain.  The  story  of  Cippus.  The  occa- 
sion of  iEsculapius  being  brought  to  Rome.  The  deification 
of  Julius  Caesar.  The  reign  of  Augustus,  in  which  Ovid  flou- 
rished.   The  Poet  concludes. 

A  king  is  sought  to  guide  the  growing  state, 

One  able  to  support  the  public  weight, 

And  fill  the  throne  where  Romulus  had  sate. 

Renown,  which  oft  bespeaks  the  public  voice, 

Had  recommended  Numa  to  their  choice;  5 

A  peaceful  pious  prince;  who,  not  content 

To  know  the  Sabine  rites,  his  study  bent 

To  cultivate  his  mind  ;  to  learn  the  laws 

Of  nature,  and  explore  their  hidden  cause. 

Urg'd  by  this  care,  his  country  he  forsook,  10 

And  to  Crotona  thence  his  journey  took. 

Arriv'd,  he  first  inquir'd  the  founder's  name 

Of  this  new  colony,  and  whence  he  came. 

Then  thus  a  senior  of  the  place  replies 

(Well  read,  and  curious  of  antiquities) :  15 

'Tis  said,  Alcides  hither  took  his  way 

From  Spain,  and  drove  along  his  conquer'd  prey ; 

Then,  leaving  in  the  fields  his  grazing  cows, 

He  sought  himself  some  hospitable  house : 

Good  Croton  entertain'd  his  godlike  guest,  20 

While  he  repair'd  his  weary  limbs  with  rest. 


The  hero,  thence  departing,  bless'd  the  place; 

And  here  (he  said),  in  time's  revolving  race, 

A  rising  town  shall  take  its  name  from  thee. 

Revolving  time  fulfill'd  the  prophecy :  25 

For  Myscelos,  the  justest  man  on  earth, 

Alemon's  son,  at  Argos  had  his  birch ; 

Him  Hercules,  arm'd  with  his  club  of  oak, 

O'ershadow'd  in  a  dream,  and  thus  bespoke : 

Go,  leave  thy  native  soil,  and  make  abode,  30 

Where  iEsaris  rolls  down  his  rapid  flood. 

He  said,  and  sleep  forsook  him  and  the  god. 

Trembling  he  wak'd,  and  rose  with  anxious  heart ; 

His  country  laws  forbade  him  to  depart : 

What  should  he  do?  'Twas  death  to  go  away,  35 

And  the  god  menac'd,  if  he  dared  to  stay. 

All  day  he  doubted,  and  when  nigh*  came  on, 

Sleep,  and  the  same  forewarning  dream,  begun  : 

Once  more  the  god  stood  threat'ning  o'er  his  head, 

With  added  curses  if  he  disobey'd.  40 

Twice  warn'd,  he  studied  flight;  but  would  convey 

At  once  his  person,  and  his  wealth  away : 

Thus,  while  he  linger'd,  his  design  was  heard ; 

A  speedy  process  form'd,  and  death  declar'd. 

Witness  there  needed  none  of  his  offence  ;  45 

Against  himself  the  wretch  was  evidence : 

Condemn'd,  and  destitute  of  human  aid, 

To  him,  for  whom  he  suffer'd,  thus  he  pray'd  : 

O  pow'r,  who  hast  deserv'd  in  heav'n  a  throne, 
Not  giv'n,  but  by  thy  labours  made  thy  own,  60 

Pity  thy  suppliant,  and  protect  his  cause, 
Whom  thou  hast  made  obnoxious  to  the  laws. 

A  custom  was  of  old,  and  still  remains, 
Which  life  or  death  by  suffrages  ordains : 
White  stones  and  black  within  an  urn  are  cast :       55 
The  first  absolve,  but  fate  is  in  the  last. 
The  judges  to  the  common  urn  bequeath 
Their  votes,  and  drop  the  sable  signs  of  death  ; 
The  box  receives  all  black,  but,  pour *d  from  thence,  CO 
The  stones  came  candid  forth;  the  hue  of  innocence. 
Thus  Alemonides  his  safety  won, 
Preserv'd  from  death  by  Alcumena's  son: 
Then  to  his  kinsman-god  his  vows  he  pays, 

BOOK  XV.  379 

And  cuts,  with  prosp'rous  gales,  the  Ionian  seas : 

He  leaves  Tarentum,  favour'd  by  the  wind,  66 

And  Thurine  bays,  and  Temises,  behind ; 

Soft  Sybaris,  and  all  the  capes  that  stand 

Along  the  shore,  he  makes  in  sight  of  land : 

Still  doubling,  and  still  coasting,  till  he  found 

The  mouth  of  iEsaris,  and  promis'd  ground ;  70 

Then  saw  where  on  the  margin  of  the  flood, 

The  tomb,  that  held  the  bones  of  Croton  stood : 

Here,  by  the  god's  command,  he  built,  and  wall'd 

The  place  predicted ;  and  Crotona  call'd. 

Thus  fame  from  time  to  time  delivers  down  75 

The  sure  tradition  of  th'  Italian  town. 

Here  dwelt  the  man  divine,  whom  Samos  bore, 

But  now  self-banish'd  from  his  native  shore, 

Because  he  hated  tyrants,  nor  could  bear 

The  chains,  which  none  but  servile  souls  will  wear :  80 

He,  though  from  heaven  remote,  to  heav'n  could  move, 

With  strength  of  mind,  and  tread  th'  abyss  above ; 

And  penetrate,  with  his  interior  light, 

Those  upper  depths,  which  nature  hid  from  sight : 

And  what  he  had  observ'd,  and  learn'd  from  thence, 

Lov'd  in  familiar  language  to  dispense.  86 

The  crowd  with  silent  admiration  stand, 
And  heard  him  as  they  heard  their  god's  command; 
While  he  discours'd  of  heav'n's  mysterious  laws, 
The  world's  original,  and  nature's  cause ;  90 

And  what  was  God,  and  why  the  fleecy  snows 
In  silence  fell,  and  rattling  winds  arose  : 
What  shook  the  steadfast  earth,  and  whence  begun 
The  dance  of  planets  round  the  radiant  sun  ; 
If  thunder  was  the  voice  of  angry  Jove,  95 

Or  clouds,  with  nitre  pregnant,  burst  above  : 
Of  these,  and  things  beyond  the  common  reach, 
He  spoke,  and  charm'd  his  audience  with  his  speech. 

He  first  the  taste  of  flesh  from  tables  drove, 
And  argu'd  well,  if  arguments  could  move  :  100 

•  O  mortals,  from  your  fellows'  blood  abstain, 
Nor  taint  your  bodies  with  a  food  profane : 
While  corn  and  pulse  by  nature  are  bestow'd, 
And  planted  orchards  bend  their  willing  load ;    ' 
While  labour'd  gardens  wholesome  herbsproduce,  105 


And  teeming  vines  afford  their  gen 'rous  juice; 

Nor  tardier  fruits  of  cruder  kind  are  lost, 

But  tam'd  with  fire,  or  mellow'd  by  the  frost; 

While  kine  to  pails  distended  udders  bring, 

And  bees  their  honey  redolent  of  spring ;  110 

While  earth  not  only  can  your  needs  supply, 

But,  lavish  of  her  store,  provides  for  luxury : 

A  guiltless  feast  administers  with  ease, 

And  without  blood  is  prodigal  to  please. 

Wild  beasts  their  maws  with  their  slain  brethren  fill ; 

And  yet  not  all,  for  some  refuse  to  kill :  116 

Sheep,  goats,  and  oxen,  and  the  nobler  steed, 

On  browse,  and  corn,  and  flow'ry  meadows,  feed. 

Bears,  tigers,  wolves,  the  lion's  angry  brood, 

Whom  Heav'n  endu'd  with  principles  of  blood,      120 

He  wisely  sunder'd  from  the  rest,  to  yell 

In  forests,  and  in  lonely  caves  to  dwell ; 

Where  stronger  beasts  oppress  the  weak  by  might, 

And  all  in  prey,  and  purple  feasts  delight. 

'  0  impious  use  :  to  nature's  laws  oppos'd,  125 

Where  bowels  are  in  other  bowels  clos'd; 
Where,  fatten'd  by  their  fellows'  fat,  they  thrive ; 
Maintain'd  by  murder,  and  by  death  they  live. 
'Tis  then  for  nought  that  mother  Earth  provides 
The  stores  of  all  she  shews,  and  all  she  hides,         130 
If  men  with  fleshy  morsels  must  be  fed, 
And  chew,  with  bloody  teeth,  the  breathing  bread: 
What  else  is  this,  but  to  devour  our  guests, 
And  barb'rously  renew  Cyclopean  feasts! 
We,  by  destroying  life,  our  life  sustain ;  135 

And  gorge  th'  ungodly  maw  with  meats  obscene. 

'  Not  so  th'  Golden  Age,  who  fed  on  fruit, 
Nor  durst  with  bloody  meals  their  mouths  pollute. 
Then  birds  in  airy  space  might  safely  move, 
And  tirn'rous  hares  on  heaths  securely  rove:  140 

Nor  needed  fish  the  guileful  hooks  to  fear, 
For  all  was  peaceful ;  and  that  peace  sincere. 
Whoever  was  the  wretch,  (and  curs'd  be  he 
That  envy'd  first  our  food's  simplicity!) 
Th'  essay  of  bloody  feasts  on  brutes  began,  145 

And  after  forg'd  the  sword  to  murder  man. 
Had  he  the  sharpen'd  steel  alone  employ'd 

BOOK  XV.  381 

On  beasts  of  prey,  that  other  beasts  destroy'd, 

Or  man  invaded  with  their  fangs,  and  paws, 

This  had  been  justified  by  nature's  laws,  150 

And  self-defence  :  But  who  did  feasts  begin 

Of  flesh,  he  stretch'd  necessity  to  sin. 

To  kill  man-killers,  man  has  lawful  pow'r, 

But  not  th'  extended  licence,  to  devour. 

'  111  habits  gather  by  unseen  degrees,  155 

As  brooks  make  rivers,  rivers  run  to  seas. 
The  sow,  with  her  broad  snout,  for  rooting  up 
Th'  intrusted  seed,  was  judg'd  to  spoil  the  crop, 
And  intercept  the  sweating  farmer's  hope  : 
The  cov'tous  churl,  of  unforgiving  kind,  160 

Th'  offender  to  the  bloody  priest  resign'd: 
Her  hunger  was  no  plea:   For  that  she  died. 
The  goat  came  next  in  order,  to  be  tried; 
The  goat  had  cropt  the  tendrils  of  the  vine : 
In  vengeance  laity  and  clergy  join,  165 

Where  one  had  lost  his  profit,  one  his  wine  : 
Here  was,  at  least,  some  shadow  of  offence  : 
The  sheep  was  sacrific'd  on  no  pretence, 
But  meek,  and  unresisting  innocence : 
A  patient,  useful  creature,  born  to  bear  170 

The  warm  and  woolly  fleece,  that  cloth'd  her  mur- 
And  daily  to  give  down  the  milk  she  bred,        [derer  ; 
A  tribute  for  the  grass  on  which  she  fed. 
Living,  both  food  and  raiment  she  supplies, 
And  is  of  least  advantage  when  she  dies.  175 

'  How  did  the  toiling  ox  his  death  deserve, 
A  downright  simple  drudge,  and  born  to  serve  ? 
O  tyrant!  with  what  justice  canst  thou  hope 
The  promise  of  the  year,  a  plenteous  crop ; 
When  thou  destroy'st  thy  lab'ring  steer,  who  till'd  180 
And  plough'd  with  pains,  thy  else  ungrateful  field? 
From  his  yet  reeking  neck  to  draw  the  yoke, 
That  neck,  with  which  the  surly  clods  he  broke ; 
And  to  the  hatchet  yield  thy  husbandman, 
Who  finish'd  Autumn,  and  the  Spring  began !         185 

•  Nor  this  alone  !  but  Heav'n  itself  to  bribe, 
We  to  the  gods  our  impious  acts  ascribe  : 
First  recompense  with  death  their  creatures'  toil ; 
Then  call  the  bless'd  above  to  share  the  spoil : 


The  fairest  victim  must  the  pow'rs  appease,  190 

(So  fatal  'tis  sometimes  too  much  to  please  !) 

A  purple  fillet  his  broad  brows  adorns, 

With  flow'ry  garlands  crown'd,  and  gilded  horns  : 

He  hears  the  murd'rous  pray'r  the  priest  prefers, 

But  understands  not  'tis  his  doom  he  hears :  195 

Beholds  the  meal  betwixt  his  temples  cast 

(The  fruit  and  product  of  his  labours  past) ; 

And  in  the  water  views  perhaps  the  knife 

Uplifted,  to  deprive  him  of  his  life; 

Then  broken  up  alive,  his  entrails  sees  200 

Torn  out,  for  priests  t'  inspect  the  gods'  decrees. 

'  From  whence,  O  mortal  men,  this  gust  of  blond 
Have  you  deriv'd,  and  interdicted  food? 
Be  taught  by  me  this  dire  delight  to  shun, 
Warn'd  by  my  precepts,  by  my  practice  won  :         205 
And  when  you  eat  the  well-deserving  beast, 
Think,  on  the  lab'rer  of  your  field  you  feast ! 
'  Now  since  the  god  inspires  me  to  proceed, 
Be  that,  whate'er  th'  inspiring  pow'r,  obey'd. 
For  I  will  sing  of  mighty  mysteries  ;  £10 

Of  truths  conceal'd,  before,  from  human  eyes ; 
Dark  oracles  unveil,  and  open  all  the  skies. 
Pleas'd  as  I  am  to  walk  along  the  sphere 
Of  shining  stars,  and  travel  with  the  year; 
To  leave  the  heavy  earth,  and  scale  the  height       215 
Of  Atlas,  who  supports  the  heav'nly  weight ; 
To  look  from  upper  light,  and  thence  survey 
Mistaken  mortals  wand'ring  from  the  way, 
And  wanting  wisdom,  fearful  for  the  state 
Of  future  things,  and  trembling  at  their  fate !  220 

'Those  I  would  teach,  and  by  right  reason  bring 
To  think  of  death,  as  but  an  idle  thing. 
Why  thus  affrighted  at  an  empty  name, 
A  dream  of  darkness,  and  fictitious  flame? 
Vain  themes  of  wit,  which  but  in  poem3  pass,         225 
And  fables  of  a  world,  which  never  was! 
What  feels  the  body,  when  the  soul  expires, 
By  time  corrupted,  or  consum'd  by  fires? 
Nor  dies  the  spirit,  but  new  life  repeats 
In  other  forms,  and  only  changes  seats.  230 

E'en  I,  who  these  mysterious  truths  declare, 

BOOK  XV.  383 

Was  once  Euphorbus  in  the  Trojan  war; 

My  name  and  lineage  I  remember  well, 

And  how  in  fight  by  Sparta's  king  I  fell. 

In  Argive  Juno's  fane,  I  late  beheld  235 

My  buckler  hung  on  high,  and  own'd  my  former  shield. 

•  Then  Death,  so  call'd,  is  but  old  matter  drest 
In  some  new  figure,  and  a  varied  vest : 

Thus  all  things  are  but  alter'd,  nothing  dies; 

And  here  and  there  th'  unbodied  spirit  flies,  240 

By  time,  or  force,  or  sickness  dispossest, 

And  lodges,  where  it  lights,  in  man  or  beast; 

Or  hunts  without,  till  ready  limbs  it  find, 

And  actuates  those  according  to  their  kind ; 

From  tenement  to  tenement  is  tost,  215 

The  soul  is  still  the  same,  the  figure  only  lost: 

And  as  the  soften'd  wax  new  seals  receives, 

This  face  assumes,  and  that  impression  leaves ; 

Now  call'd  by  one,  now  by  another  name  ; 

The  form  is  only  chang'd,  the  wax  is  still  the  same : 

So  Death,  so  call'd,  can  but  the  form  deface  ;  251 

Th'  immortal  soul  flies  out  in  empty  space, 

To  seek  her  fortune  in  some  other  place. 

'  Then  let  not  piety  be  put  to  flight, 
To  please  the  taste  of  glutton  appetite ;  255 

But  suffer  inmate  souls  secure  to  dwell, 
Lest  from  their  seats  your  parents  you  expel ; 
With  rapid  hunger  feed  upon  your  kind, 
Or  from  a  beast  dislodge  a  brother's  mind. 

*  And  since,  like  Typhis  parting  from  the  shore,  260 
In  ample  seas  I  sail,  and  depths  untried  before, 
This  let  me  further  add,  that  Nature  knows 

No  steadfast  station,  but,  or  ebbs,  or  flows : 

Ever  in  motion ;  she  destroys  her  old, 

And  casts  new  figures  in  another  mould.  265 

E'en  times  are  in  perpetual  flux,  and  run, 

Like  rivers  from  their  fountain,  rolling  on. 

For  time,  no  more  than  streams,  is  at  a  stay ; 

The  flying  hour  is  ever  on  her  way : 

And  as  the  fountain  still  supplies  her  store,  270 

The  wave  behind  impels  the  wave  before; 

Thus  in  successive  course  the  minutes  run, 


And  urge  their  predecessor  minutes  on, 

Still  moving,  ever  new  :  For,  former  things 

Are  set  aside,  like  abdicated  king?  ;  275 

And  ev'ry  moment  alters  what  is  done, 

And  innovates  some  act  till  then  unknown. 

'  Darkness  we  see  emerges  into  light, 
And  shining  suns  descend  to  sable  night; 
E'en  heav'n  itself  receives  another  dye,  280 

When  wearied  animals  in  slumbers  lie 
Of  midnight  ease :  Another,  when  the  gray 
Of  morn  preludes  the  splendour  of  the  day. 
The  disc  of  Phoebus,  when  he  climbs  on  high, 
Appears  at  first  but  as  a  blood-shot  eye  ;  2S5 

And  when  his  chariot  downward  drives  to  bed, 
His  ball  is  with  the  same  suffusion  red ; 
But,  mounted  high  in  his  meridian  race, 
All  bright  he  shines,  and  with  a  better  face  : 
For  there  pure  particles  of  ether  flow,  290 

Far  from  th'  infection  of  the  world  below. 

■  Nor  equal  light  th'  unequal  moon  adorns, 
Or  in  her  waxing,  or  her  waning  horns. 
For  ev'ry  day  she  wanes,  her  face  is  less  ; 
But  gath'ring  into  globe,  she  fattens  at  increase.    295 

'  Perceiv'st  thou  not  the  process  of  the  year, 
How  the  four  seasons  in  four  forms  appear, 
Resembling  human  life  in  ev'ry  shape  they  wear? 
Spring  first,  like  infancy,  shoots  out  her  head, 
With  milky  juice  requiring  to  be  fed  :  300 

Helpless,  though  fresh,  and  wanting  to  be  led. 
The  green  stem  grows  in  stature,  and  in  size, 
But  only  feeds  with  hope  the  farmer's  eyes ; 
Then  laughs  the  childish  year  with  flowrets 

And  lavishly  perfumes  the  fields  around,  305 

But  no  substantial  nourishment  receives  ; 
Infirm  the  stalks,  unsolid  are  the  leaves. 

'  Proceeding  onward  whence  the  year  began, 
The  Summer  grows  adult,  and  ripens  into  man. 
This  season,  as  in  men,  is  most  replete  310 

With  kindly  moisture,  and  prolific  heat. 

'  Autumn  succeeds ;  a  sober,  tepid  age, 
Not  froze  with  fear,  nor  boiling  into  rage; 

BOOK  XV.  385 

More  than  mature,  and  tending  to  decay, 

When  our  brown  locks  repine  to  mix  with  odious  gray. 

'  Last,  Winter  creeps  along  with  tardy  pace,       316 
Sour  is  his  front,  and  furrow'd  is  his  face; 
His  scalp,  if  not  dishonour'd  quite  of  hair, 
The  ragged  fleece  is  thin ;  and  thin  is  worse  than  bare. 

'  E'en  our  own  bodies  daily  change  receive,        320 
Some  part  of  what  was  theirs  before  they  leave ; 
Nor  are  to-day  what  yesterday  they  were ; 
Nor  the  whole  same  to-morrow  will  appear. 

'  Time  was  when  we  were  sow'd,  and  just  began, 
From  some  few  fruitful  drops,  the  promise  of  a  man  : 
Then  nature's  hand  (fermented  as  it  was)  326 

Moulded  to  shape  the  soft,  coagulated  mass : 
And  when  the  little  man  was  fully  form'd, 
The  breathless  embryo  with  a  spirit  warm'd ; 
But  when  the  mother's  throes  begin  to  come,         330 
The  creature,  pent  within  the  narrow  room, 
Breaks  his  blind  prison,  pushing  to  repair 
His  stifled  breath,  and  draw  the  living  air; 
Cast  on  the  margin  of  the  world  he  lies 
A  helpless  babe,  but  he  by  instinct  cries.  335 

He  next  essays  to  walk,  but  downward  prest, 
On  four  feet,  imitates  his  brother  beast : 
By  slow  degrees,  he  gathers  from  the  ground 
His  legs,  and  to  the  rolling  chair  is  bound; 
Then  walks  alone ;  a  horseman  now  become,  340 

He  rides  a  stick,  and  travels  round  the  room. 
In  time  he  vaunts  among  his  youthful  peers, 
Strong-bon'd,  and  strung  with  nerves,  in  pride  of  years. 
He  runs  with  mettle  his  first  merry  stage, 
Maintains  the  next,  abated  of  his  rage,  345 

But  manages  his  strength,  and  spares  his  age. 
Heavy  the  third,  and  stiff  he  sinks  apace,  [race. 

And,  though  'tis  down-hill  all,  but  creeps  along  the 
Now,  sapless,  on  the  verge  of  death  he  stands, 
Contemplating  his  former  feet  and  hands ;  350 

And,  Milo-like,  his  slacken'd  sinews  sees, 
And  wither'd  arms,  once  fit  to  cope  with  Hercules, 
Unable  now  to  shake,  much  less  to  tear  the  trees. 

'  So  Helen  wept,  when  her  too  faithful  glass 
Reflected  on  her  eyes  the  ruins  of  her  face :  355 



Wond'ring,  what  charms  her  ravishers  could  spy, 
To  force  her  twice,  or  e'  en  but  once  t'  enjoy  ! 

'  Thy  teeth,  devouring  Time,  thine,  envious  Age, 
On  things  below  still  exercise  your  rage : 
With  venom'd  grinders  you  corrupt  your  meat,       360 
And  then,  at  ling'ring  meals,  the  morsels  eat. 

f  Nor  those,  which  element  we  call,  abide, 
Nor  to  this  figure,  nor  to  that  are  tied: 
For  this  eternal  world  is  said  of  old, 
But  four  prolific  principles  to  hold,  365 

Four  diff'rent  bodies ;  two  to  heav'n  ascend, 
And  other  two  down  to  the  centre  tend : 
Fire  first,  with  wings  expanded,  mounts  on  high, 
Pure,  void  of  weight,  and  dwells  in  upper  sky ; 
Then  air,  because  unclogg'd  in  empty  space,  370 

Flies  after  fire,  and  claims  the  second  place: 
But  weighty  water,  as  her  nature  guides, 
Lies   on  the  lap  of  earth;   and  mother   earth   sub- 

*  All  things  are  mix'd  of  these,  which  all  contain, 
And  into  these  are  all  resolv'd  again  :  375 
Earth  rarifies  to  dew ;  expanded  more, 

The  subtile  dew  in  air  begins  to  soar; 

Spreads,  as  she  flies,  and  weary  of  her  name 

Extenuates  still,  and  changes  into  flame; 

Thus  having  by  degrees  perfection  won,  380 

Restless,  they  soon  untwist  the  web  they  spun, 

And  fire  begins  to  lose  her  radiant  hue, 

Mix'd  with  gross  air,  and  air  descends  to  dew ; 

And  dew  condensing,  does  her  form  forego, 

And  sinks,  a  heavy  lump  of  earth  below.  385 

•  Thus  are  their  figures  never  at  a  stand, 
But  chang'd  by  nature's  innovating  hand; 
All  things  are  alter'd,  nothing  is  destroy'd, 
The  shifted  scene  for  some  new  show  employ'd. 

'  Then,  to  be  born,  is  to  begin  to  be  390 

Some  other  thing  we  were  not  formerly: 
And  what  we  call  to  die,  is  not  t'  appear, 
Nor  be  the  thing  that  formerly  we  were. 
Those  very  elements,  which  we  partake 
Alive,  when  dead  some  other  bodies  make ; 

BOOK  XV.  387 

Translated  grow,  have  sense,  or  can  discourse; 
But  death,  on  deathless  substance  has  no  force. 

•  That  forms  are  chang'd,  I  grant;  that  nothing  can 
Continue  in  the  figure  it  began : 

The  golden  age,  to  silver  was  debas'd ;  400 

To  copper  that ;  our  metal  came  at  last. 

'  The  face  of  places,  and  their  forms,  decay ; 
And  that  is  solid  earth,  that  once  was  sea : 
Seas,  in  their  turn,  retreating  from  the  shore, 
Make  solid  land,  what  ocean  was  before  ;  405 

And  far  from  strands,  are  shells  of  fishes  found, 
And  rusty  anchors  fix'd  on  mountain-ground  : 
And  what  were  fields  before,  now  wash'd  and  worn 
By  falling  floods  from  high,  to  valleys  turn, 
And  crumbling  still  descend  to  level  lands;  410 

And  lakes  and  trembling  bogs  are  barren  sands ; 
And  the  parch'd  desert  floats  in  streams  unknown  ; 
Wond'ring  to  drink  of  waters  not  her  own. 

•  Here  nature  living  fountains  opes;  and  there 
Seals  up  the  wombs  where  living  fountains  were ;  415 
Or  earthquakes  stop  their  ancient  course,  and  bring 
Diverted  streams  to  feed  a  distant  spring. 

So  Licus,  swallow'd  up,  is  seen  no  more, 

But  far  from  thence  knocks  out  another  door. 

Thus  Erasinus  dives;  and  blind  in  earth  420 

Runs  on,  and  gropes  his  way  to  second  birth, 

Starts  up  in  Argos'  meads,  and  shakes  his  locks 

Around  the  fields,  and  fattens  all  the  flocks. 

So  Mysus  by  another  way  is  led, 

And,  grown  a  river,  now  disdains  his  head ;  425 

Forgets  his  humble  birth,  his  name  forsakes, 

And  the  proud  title  of  Caicus  takes. 

Large  Amenane,  impure  with  yellow  sands, 

Runs  rapid  often,  and  as  often  stands, 

And  here  he  threats  the  drunken  fields  to  drown ;  430 

And  there  his  dugs  deny  to  give  their  liquor  down. 

'  Anigros  once  did  wholesome  draughts  afford, 
But  now  his  deadly  waters  are  abhorr'd  : 
Since,  hurt  by  Hercules,  as  fame  resounds, 
The  Centaurs  in  his  current  wash'd  their  wounds.  435 
The  streams  of  Hypanis  are  sweet  no  more, 
But  brackish  lose  the  taste  they  had  before. 


Antissa,  Pharos,  Tyre,  in  seas  were  pent, 

Once  isles,  but  now  increase  the  continent; 

While  the  Leucadian  coast,  main  land  before,        440 

By  rushing  seas  is  sever'd  from  the  shore. 

So  Zancle  to  th'  Italian  earth  was  tied, 

And  men  once  walk'd  where  ships  at  anchor  ride, 

Till  Neptune  overlook'd  the  narrow  way, 

And  in  disdain  pour'd  in  the  conqu'ring  sea.  445 

'  Two  cities  that  adorn'd  th'  Achaian  ground, 
Buris  and  Helice,  no  more  are  found, 
But  whelm'd  beneath  a  lake,  are  sunk  and  drown'd; 
And  boatsmen  through  the  crystal  water  shew, 
To  wond'ring  passengers,  the  walls  below.  450 

'  Near  Troszen  stands  a  hill,  expos'd  in  air 
To  winter  winds,  of  leafy  shadows  bare : 
This  once  was  level  ground :  But  (strange  to  tell) 
Th'  included  vapours,  that  in  caverns  dwell, 
Lab'ring  with  cholic  pangs,  and  close  confin'd,       455 
In  vain  sought  issue  for  the  rumbling  wind: 
Yet  still  they  heav'd  for  vent,  and  heaving  still 
Enlarg'd  the  concave,  and  shot  up  the  hill ; 
As  breath  extends  a  bladder,  or  the  skins 
Of  goats  are  blown  t'  inclose  the  hoarded  wines:   460 
The  mountain  yet  retains  a  mountain's  face, 
And  gather'd  rubbish  heals  the  hollow  space. 

'  Of  many  wonders,  which  I  heard  or  knew, 
Retrenching  most,  I  will  relate  but  few : 
What,  are  not  springs  with  qualities  oppos'd,  465 

Endued  at  seasons,  and  at  seasons  lost  1 
Thrice  in  a  day  thine,  Ammon,  change  their  form, 
Cold  at  high  noon,  at  morn  and  evening  warm : 
Thine,  Athaman,  will  kindle  wood,  if  thrown 
On  the  pil'd  earth,  and  in  the  waning  moon.  470 

The  Thracians  have  a  stream,  if  any  try 
The  taste,  hisharden'd  bowels  petrify; 
Whate'er  it  touches,  it  converts  to  stones, 
And  makes  a  marble  pavement  where  it  runs. 

'  C  rath  is,  and  Sybaris,  her  sister  flood,  475 

That  slide  through  our  Calabrian  neighbour  wood, 
With  gold  and  amber  dye  the  shining  hair; 
And  thither  youth  resort:  (for  who  would  not  be  fair?) 
'  But  stranger  virtues  yet  in  streams  we  find, 

BOOK  XV.  389 

Some  change  not  only  bodies,  but  the  mind:  480 

Who  has  not  heard  of  Salmacis  obscene, 

Whose  waters  into  women  soften  men? 

Or  ./Ethiopian  lakes,  which  turn  the  brain 

To  madness,  or  in  heavy  sleep  constrain? 

Clytorian  streams  the  love  of  wine  expel  485 

(Such  is  the  virtue  of  th'  abstemious  well), 

Whether  the  colder  nymph  that  rules  the  flood 

Extinguishes,  and  balks  the  drunken  god ; 

Or  that  Melampus  (so  have  some  assur'd), 

When  the  mad  Prostides  with  charms  he  cur'd,      490 

And  pow'rful  herbs,  both  charms  and  simples  cast 

Into  the  sober  spring,  where  still  their  virtues  last. 

'  Unlike  effects  Lyncestis  will  produce ; 
Who  drinks  his  waters,  though  with  mod'rate  use, 
Reels  as  with  wine,  and  sees  with  double  sight;    495 
His  heels  too  heavy,  and  his  head  too  light. 
Ladon,  once  Pheneos,  an  Arcadian  stream 
(Ambiguous  in  th'  effects,  as  in  the  name), 
By  day  is  wholesome  bev'rage ;  but  is  thought 
By  night  infected,  and  a  deadly  draught.  500 

'  Thus  running  rivers,  and  the  standing  lake 
Now  of  these  virtues,  now  of  those  partake  : 
Time  was  (and  all  things  time  and  fate  obey), 
When  fast  Ortygia  floated  on  the  sea ; 
Such  were  Cyanean  isles,  when  Typhis  steer'd       505 
Betwixt  their  streights,  and  their  collision  fear'd; 
They  swam,  where  now  they  sit;  and  firmly  join'd, 
Secure  of  rooting  up,  resist  the  wind. 
Nor  ./Etna  vomiting  sulphureous  fire 
Will  ever  belch ;  for  sulphur  will  expire  510 

(The  veins  exhausted  of  the  liquid  store).  [more. 

Time  was,  she  cast  no  flames;  in  time  will  cast  no 

•  For  whether  earth's  an  animal,  and  air 
Imbibes,  her  lungs  with  coolness  to  repair, 
And  what  she  sucks,  remits;  she  still  requires        515 
Inlets  for  air,  and  outlets  for  her  fires; 
When  tortur'd  with  convulsive  fits  she  shakes, 
Thatmotion  chokes  the  vent,  till  other  vent  she  makes; 
Or  when  the  winds  in  hollow  caves  are  clos'd, 
And  subtile  spirits  find  that  way  oppos'd,  520 

They  toss  up  flints  in  air;  the  flints  that  hide 


The  seeds  of  fire,  thus  tost  in  air,  collide, 
Kindling  the  sulphur,  till,  the  fuel  spent, 
The  cave  is  cool'd,  and  the  fierce  winds  relent. 
Or  whether  sulphur,  catching  fire,  feeds  on  525 

Its  unctuous  parts,  till  all  the  matter  gone 
The  flames  no  more  ascend ;  for  earth  supplies 
The  fat  that  feeds  them;  and  when  earth  denies 
That  food,  hy  length  of  time  consum'd,  the  fire, 
Famish'd  for  want  of  fuel,  must  expire.  530 

'  A  race  of  men  there  are,  as  fame  has  told, 
Who,  shiv'ring,  suffer  Hyperborean  cold, 
Till  nine  times  bathing  in  Minerva's  lake, 
Soft  feathers,  to  defend  their  naked  sides  they  take. 
'Tis  said,  the  Scythian  wives  (believe  who  will)     535 
Transform'd  themselves  to  birds  by  magic  skill ; 
Smear'd  over  with  an  oil  of  wondrous  might, 
That  adds  new  pinions  to  their  airy  flight. 

'  But  this  by  sure  experiment  we  know, 
That  living  creatures  from  corruption  grow:  540 

Hide  in  a  hollow  pit  a  slaughter'd  steer, 
Bees  from  his  putrid  bowels  will  appear : 
Who,  like  their  parents,  haunt  the  fields,  and  bring- 
Their  honey  harvest  home,  and  hope  another  spring. 
The  warlike  steel  is  multiplied,  we  find,  545 

To  wasps,  and  hornets  of  the  warrior  kind. 
Cut  from  a  crab  his  crooked  claws,  and  hide 
The  rest  in  earth,  a  scorpion  thence  will  glide 
And  shoot  his  sting,  his  tail  in  circles  tost, 
Refers  the  limbs  his  backward  father  lost :  550 

And  worms  that  stretch  on  leaves  their  filmy  loom, 
Crawl  from  their  bags,  and  butterflies  become, 
E'en  slime  begets  the  frogs'  loquacious  race : 
Short  of  their  feet  at  first,  in  little  space 
With  arms  and  legs  endued,  long  leaps  they  take,  555 
Rais'd  on  their  hinder  part,  and  swim  the  lake, 
And  waves  repel :  For  nature  gives  their  kind, 
To  that  intent,  a  length  of  legs  behind. 

'  The  cubs  of  bears  a  living  lump  appear, 
When  whelp'd,  and  no  determin'd  figure  wear.       560 
Their  mother  licks  'em  into  shape,  and  gives 
As  much  of  form  as  she  herself  receives. 

'  The  grubs  from  their  sexangular  abode 

BOOK  XV.  391 

Crawl  out  unfinish'd  like  the  maggots'  brood; 
Trunks  without  limbs;  till  time  at  leisure  brings    565 
The  thighs  they  wanted,  and  their  tardy  wings. 

•  the  bird  who  draws  the  car  of  Juno,  -vain 
Of  her  crown'd  head,  and  of  her  starry  train; 
And  he  that  bears  th'  artillery  of  Jove, 

The  strong-pounc'd  eagle,  and  the  billing  dove,       570 
And  all  the  feather'd  kind,  who  could  suppose 
(But  that  from  sight  the  surest  sense  he  knows) 
They  from  th'  included  yolk,  not  ambient  white  arose  j 

'There  are,  who  think  the  marrow  of  a  man, 
Which  in  the  spine,  while  he  was  living,  ran,        575 
When  dead,  the  pith  corrupted  will  become 
A  snake,  and  hiss  within  the  hollow  tomb. 

*  All  these  reoeive  their  birth  from  other  things: 
But  from  himself  the  phoenix  only  springs; 
Self-born,  begotten  by  the  parent  flame  5SO 
In  which  he  burn'd,  another,  and  the  same; 

Who  not  by  corn  or  herbs  his  life  sustains, 

But  the  sweet  essence  of  amomum  drains: 

And  watches  the  rich  gums  Arabia  bears, 

While  yet  in  tender  dew  they  drop  their  tears.       58o 

He  (his  five  centuries  of  life  fulfuTd) 

His  nest  on  oaken  boughs  begins  to  build, 

Or  trembling  tops  of  palm ;  and  first  he  draws 

The  plan  with  his  broad  bill  and  crooked  claws, 

Nature's  artificers;  on  this  the  pile  590 

Is  form'd,  and  rises  round,  then  with  the  spoil 

Of  cassia,  cinnamon,  and  stems  of  nard 

(For  softness  strew'd  beneath),  hisfun'ral  bed  is  rear'd, 

Fun'ral  and  bridal  both;  and  all  around  ^ 

The  borders  with  corruptless  myrrh  are  crown  d,   595 

On  this  incumbent;  till  ethereal  flame 

First  catches,  then  consumes,  the  costly  frame: 

Consumes  him  too,  as  on  the  pile  he  lies: 

He  liv'd  on  odours,  and  in  odours  dies. 

«  An  infant  phoenix  from  the  former  springs,        600 
His  father's  heir,  and  from  his  tender  wings 
Shakes  off  his  parent  dust,  his  method  he  pursues, 
And  the  same  lease  of  life  on  the  same  terms  renews. 
When  grown  to  manhood,  he  begins  his  reign, 
And  with  stiff  pinions  can  his  flight  sustain ;  605 


He  lightens  of  its  load  the  tree  that  bore 

His  father's  royal  sepulchre  before, 

And  his  own  cradle :  This  (with  pious  care) 

Plac'd  on  his  back,  he  cuts  the  buxom  air, 

Seeks  the  sun's  city,  and  his  sacred  church,  616 

And  decently  lays  down  his  burthen  in  the  porch. 

'  A  wonder  more  amazing  would  we  find  ? 
Th'  hyaena  shews  it,  of  a  double  kind, 
Varying  the  sexes  in  alternate  years, 
In  one  begets,  and  in  another  bears.  615 

The  thin  chameleon,  fed  with  air,  receives 
The  colour  of  the  thing  to  which  he  cleaves. 

'  India,  when  conquer'd,  on  the  conqu'ring  god 
For  planted  vines  the  sharp-ey'd  lynx  bestow'd, 
Whose  urine,  shed,  before  it  touches  earth,  620 

Congeals  in  air,  and  gives  to  gems  their  birth. 
So  coral  soft,  and  white  in  ocean's  bed, 
Comes  harden'd  up  in  air,  and  glows  in  red. 

•  All  changing  species  should  my  song  recite; 
Before  I  ceas'd  would  change  the  day  to  night.      625 
Nations  and  empires  flourish  and  decay, 
By  turns  command,  and  in  their  turns  obey; 
Time  softens  hardy  people:  time  again 
Hardens  to  war  a  soft,  unwarlike  train. 
Thus  Troy  for  ten  long  years  her  foes  withstood,    630 
And  daily  bleeding,  bore  th'  expense  of  blood : 
Now  for  thick  streets  it  shews  an  empty  space, 
Or  only  fill'd  with  tombs  of  her  own  perish'd  race, 
Herself  becomes  the  sepulchre  of  what  she  was. 

'  Mycene,  Sparta,  Thebes,  of  mighty  fame,  635 

Are  vanish'd  out  of  substance  into  name. 
And  Dardan  Rome,  that  just  begins  to  rise, 
On  Tiber's  banks,  in  time  shall  mate  the  skies : 
Wid'ning  her  bounds,  and  working  on  her  way; 
E'en  now  she  meditates  imperial  sway:  640 

Yet  this  is  change,  but  she  by  changing  thrives, 
Like  moons  new-born,  and  in  her  cradle  strives 
To  fill  her  infant  horns;  an  hour  shall  come, 
When  the  round  world  shall  be  contain'd  in  Rome. 

'  For  thus  old  saws  foretel,  and  Helenus  645 

An chises' drooping  son  enliven'd  thus; 
When  Ilium  now  was  in  a  sinking  state, 

BOOK  XV.  3D3 

And  he  was  doubtful  of  his  future  fate : 

"  O  goddess-born,  with  thy  hard  fortune  strive; 

Troy  never  can  be  lost,  and  thou  alive.  650 

Thy  passage  thou  shalt  free  through  fire  and  sword, 

And  Troy  in  foreign  lands  shall  be  restor'd. 

In  happier  fields  a  rising  town  I  see, 

Greater  than  what  e'er  was,  or  is,  or  e'er  shall  be; 

And  heav'n  yet  owes  the  world  a  race  deriv'd  from 

Sages,  and  chiefs,  of  other  lineage  born,       [thee.  655 

The  city  shall  extend,  extended  shall  adorn : 

But  trom  lulus  he  must  draw  his  breath, 

By  whom  thy  Rome  shall  rule  the  conquer'd  earth: 

Whom  heav'n  will  lend  mankind  on  earth  to  reign, 

And  late  require  the  precious  pledge  again."  661 

This  Helenus  to  great  iEneas  told, 

Which  I  retain  e'er  since  in  other  mould, 

My  soul  was  cloth'd;  and  now  rejoice  to  view 

My  country  walls  rebuilt,  and  Troy  reviv'd  anew,  6C5 

Rais'd  by  the  fall,  decreed  by  loss  to  gain; 

Enslav'd  but  to  be  free,  and  conquer'd  but  to  reign. 

'  Tis  time  my  hard-mouth'd  coursers  to  control, 
Apt  to  run  riot,  and  transgress  the  goal  : 
And,  therefore,  I  conclude,  whatever  lies,  670 

In  earth,  or  flits  in  air,  or  fills  the  skies, 
All  suffer  change ;  and  we,  that  are  of  soul 
And  body  mix'd,  are  members  of  the  whole. 
Then  when  our  sires,  or  grandsires,  shall  forsake 
The  forms  of  men,  and  brutal  figures  take,  675 

Thus  hous'd,  securely  let  their  spirits  rest, 
Nor  violate  thy  father  in  the  beast, 
Thy  friend,  thy  brother,  any  of  thy  kin, 
If  none  of  these,  yet  there's  a  man  within. 
O,  spare  to  make  a  Thyestsean  meal,  680 

T'  inclose  his  body,  and  his  soul  expel. 

'  111  customs  by  degrees  to  habits  rise, 
111  habits  soon  become  exalted  vice: 
What  more  advance  can  mortals  make  in  sin 
So  near  perfection  who  with  blood  begin  ?  6S5 

Deaf  to  the  calf,  that  lies  beneath  the  knife, 
Looks  up,  and  from  her  butcher  begs  her  life: 
Deaf  to  the  harmless  kid,  that  ere  he  dies, 
All  methods  to  procure  thy  mercy  tries, 
S  2 


And  imitates,  in  vain,  thy  children's  cries.  690 

Where  will  he  stop,  who  feeds  with  household  bread, 

Then  eats  the  poultry  which  before  he  fed  1 

Let  plow  thy  steers ;  that,  when  they  lose  their  breath, 

To  nature,  not  to  thee,  they  may  impute  their  death/ 

Let  goats  for  food  their  loaded  udders  lend,  695 

And  sheep  from  winter-cold  thy  sides  defend; 

But  neither  springes,  nets,  nor  snares  employ, 

And  be  no  more  ingenious  to  destroy. 

Free  as  in  air  let  birds  on  earth  remain, 

Nor  let  insidious  glue  their  wings  constrain :  700 

Nor  op'ning  hounds  the  trembling  stag  affright, 

Nor  purple  feathers  intercept  his  flight: 

Nor  hooks  conceal'd  in  baits  for  fish  prepare, 

Nor  lines  to  heave  'em  twinkling  up  in  air. 

'  Take  not  away  the  life  you  cannot  give,  705 

For  all  things  have  an  equal  right  to  live. 
Kill  noxious  creatures,  where  'tis  sin  to  save; 
This  only  just  prerogative  we  have: 
But  nourish  life  with  vegetable  food, 
And  shun  the  sacrilegious  taste  of  blood.'  710 

These  precepts  by  the  Samian  sage  were  taught, 
Which  god-like  Numa  to  the  Sabines  brought, 
And  thence  transferred  to  Rome,  by  gift  his  own : 
A  willing  people,  and  an  offerd  throne. 
O  happy  monarch,  sent  by  heav'n  to  bless  7if> 

A  salvage  nation  with  soft  arts  of  peace ! 
To  teach  religion,  rapine  to  restrain, 
Give  laws  to  lust,  and  sacrifice  ordain: 
Himself  a  saint,  a  goddess  was  his  bride, 
And  all  the  muses  o'er  bis  acts  preside.  720 

Advanc'd  in  years  he  died;  one  common  date 
His  reign  concluded,  and  his  mortal  state. 
Then  tears  plebeians,  and  patricians  shed, 
And  pious  matrons  wept  their  monarch  dead. 
His  mournful  wife  her  sorrows  to  bewail,  725 

Withdrew  from  Rome,  and  sought  th'  Arician  vale: 
Hid  in  thick  woods  she  made  incessant  moans, 
Disturbing  Cynthia's  sacred  rites  with  groans. 
How  oft  the  nymphs,  who  rul'd  the  wood  and  lake, 

BOOK  XV.  395 

ReprovM  her  tears,  and  words  of  comfort  spake !    730 

How  oft  (in  -vain)  the  son  of  Theseus  said, 

Thy  stormy  sorrows  be  with  patience  laid ; 

Nor  are  thy  fortunes  to  be  wept  alone, 

Weigh  others'  woes,  and  learn  to  bear  thine  own. 

Be  mine  an  instance  to  assuage  thy  grief :  735 

Would  mine  were  none ! — yet  mine  may  bring  relief. 

You've  heard  perhaps,  in  conversation  told, 
What  once  befel  Hippolytus  of  old ; 
To  death  by  Theseus'  easy  faith  betray'd, 
And  caught  in  snares  his  wicked  step-dame  laid.    740 
The  wondrous  tale  your  credit  scarce  may  claim, 
Yet  (strange  to  say)  in  me  behold  the  same, 
Whom  lustful  Phaedra  oft  had  press'd  in  vain, 
With  impious  joys  my  father's  bed  to  stain ; 
Till  seiz'd  with  fear,  or  by  revenge  inspir'd,  745 

She  charg'd  on  me  the  crimes  herself  desir'd. 
Expell'd  by  Theseus,  from  his  home  I  fled 
With  heaps  of  curses  on  my  guiltless  head. 
Forlorn  I  sought  Pitthe'an  Troszen's  land, 
And  drove  my  chariot  o'er  Corinthus'  strand ;         750 
When  from  the  surface  of  the  level  main 
A  billow  rising,  heav'd  above  the  plain ; 
Rolling,  and  gath'ring,  till  so  high  it  swell'd, 
A  mountain's  height  th'  enormous  mass  excell'd: 
Then  bellowing  burst;  when  from  the  summit  cleav'd 
A  horned  bull  his  ample  chest  upheav'd.  756 

His  mouth  and  nostrils,  storms  of  briny  rain, 
Expiring,  blew.    Dread  horror  seiz'd  my  train  ; 
I  stood  unmov'd:  my  father's  cruel  doom 
Claim'd  all  my  soul,  nor  fear  could  find  a  room.      760 
Amaz'd,  awhile  my  trembling  coursers  stood 
With  prick'd-up  ears,  contemplating  the  flood; 
Then  starting  sudden  from  the  dreadful  view, 
At  once,  like  lightning,  from  the  seas  they  flew, 
And  o'er  the  craggy  rocks  the  rattling  chariot  drew. 
In  vain  to  stop  the  hot  mouth'd  steeds  I  try'd,        766 
And  bending  backwards  all  my  strength  apply'd; 
The  frothy  foam  in  driving  flakes  distains 
The  bits  and  bridles,  and  bedews  the  reins. 
But  though,  as  yetuntam'd  they  ran,  at  length      770 
Their  heady  rage  had  tir'd  beneath  my  strength, 


When  in  the  spokes,  a  stump  entangling,  tore 
The  shatter'd  wheel,  and  from  its  axle  bore. 
The  shock  impetuous  toss'd  me  from  my  seat, 
Caught  in  the  reins  beneath  my  horses'  feet.  775 

My  reeking  guts  dragg'd  out  alive,  around 
The  jagged  stump  my  trembling  nerves  were  wound. 
Then  stretch'd  the  well-knit  limbs,  in  pieces  hal'd, 
Part  stuck  behind,  and  part  the  chariot  trail'd; 
Till,  'midst  my  cracking  joints,  and  breaking  bones, 
I  breath'd  away  my  wearied  soul  in  groans.  781 

No  part  distinguished  from  the  rest  was  found, 
But  all  my  parts  a  universal  wound. 

Now  say,  self-tortured  nymph,  can  you  compare 
Our  griefs  as  equal,  or  in  justice  dare  1  785 

I  saw,  besides,  the  darksome  realms  of  woe, 
And  bath'd  my  wounds  in  smoking  streams  below. 
There  I  had  stay'd,  nor  second  life  enjoy'd, 
But  Paean's  son  his  wondrous  art  employ'd. 
To  light  restor'd,  by  medicinal  skill,  790 

In  spite  of  fate,  and  rigid  Pluto's  will, 
Th'  invidious  object  to  preserve  from  view, 
A  misty  cloud  around  me  Cynthia  threw; 
And  lest  my  sight  should  stir  my  foes  to  rage, 
She  stamp'd  my  visage  with  the  marks  of  age.        795 
My  former  hue  was  chang'd,  and  for  it  shewn 
A  set  of  features,  and  a  face  unknown. 
Awhile  the  goddess  stood  in  doubt,  or  Crete, 
Or  Delos'  Isle,  to  choose  for  my  retreat. 
Delos  and  Crete  refus'd,  this  wood  she  chose,         800 
Bade  me  my  former  luckless  name  depose, 
Which  kept  alive  the  mem'ry  of  my  woes; 
Then  said,  Immortal  life  be  thine;  and  thou, 
Hippolytus  once  call'd,  be  Virbius  now. 
Here  then  a  god,  but  of  th'  inferior  race,  805 

I  serve  my  goddess,  and  attend  her  chace. 

But  other's  woes  were  useless  to  appease 
Egeria's  grief,  or  set  her  mind  at  ease. 
Beneath  the  hill,  all  comfortless  she  laid, 
The  dropping  tears  her  eyes  incessant  shed,  810 

'Till  pitying  Phoebe  eas'd  her  pious  woe, 
Thaw'd  to  a  spring,  whose  streams  for  ever  flow. 
The  nymphs,  and  Virbius,  like  amazement  fill'd, 

BOOK  XV.  397 

As  seiz'd  the  swains  who  Tyrrhene  furrows  till'd; 
When  heaving  up,  a  clod  was  seen  to  roll,  815 

Untouch'd,  self-mov'd,  and  big  with  human  soul. 
The  spreading  mass  its  former  shape  depos'd, 
Began  to  shoot,  and  arms  and  legs  disclos'd, 
Till  form'd  a  perfect  man,  the  living  mould 
Op'd  its  new  mouth,  and  future  truths  foretold ;     820 
And  Tages  nam'd  by  natives  of  the  place, 
Taught  arts  prophetic  to  the  Tuscan  race. 

Or  such  as  once  by  Romulus  was  shewn, 
Who  saw  his  lance  with  sprouting  leaves  o'er-grown, 
When  fix'd  on  earth  the  point  began  to  shoot,        825 
And,  growing  downward,  turned  a  fibrous  root; 
While  spread  aloft,  the  branching  arms  display'd, 
O'er  wond'ring  crowds,  an  unexpected  shade. 

Or  as  when  Cippus  in  the  current  view'd 
The  shooting  horns  that  on  his  forehead  stood,        830 
His  temples  first  he  feels,  and  with  surprise 
His  touch  confirms  th'  assurance  of  his  eyes. 
Straight  to  the  skies  his  horned  front  he  rears, 
And  to  the  gods  directs  these  pious  pray'rs : 
If  this  portent  be  prosp'rous,  O,  decree  835 

To  Rome  th'  event:  if  otherwise,  to  me. 

An  altar  then  of  tuTf  he  hastes  to  raise, 
Rich  gums  in  fragrant  exhalations  blaze ; 
The  panting  entrails  crackle  as  they  fry, 
And  boding  fumes  pronounce  a  mystery.  840 

Soon  as  the  augur  saw  the  holy  fire, 
And  victims  with  presaging  signs  expire, 
To  Cippus  then  he  turns  his  eyes  with  speed, 
And  views  the  horny  honours  of  his  head  : 
Then  cry'd,  Hail,  conqueror!  thy  call  obey;  845 

Those  omens  I  behold,  presage  thy  sway. 
Rome  waits  thy  nod,  unwilling  to  be  free, 
And  owns  thy  sov'reign  pow'r  as  fate's  decree. 

He  said;— and  Cippus,  starting  at  th'  event, 
Spoke  in  these  words  his  pious  discontent :  850 

Far  hence,  ye  gods,  this  execration  send ; 
And  the  great  race  of  Romulus  defend. 
Better  that  I  in  exile  live  abhorr'd, 
Then  e'er  the  Capitol  should  style  me  lord. 


This  spoke,  he  hides  with  leaves  his  omen'd  head, 
Then  prays ;  the  senate  next  convenes,  and  said ;  856 

If  augurs  can  foresee,  a  wretch  is  come, 
Oesign'd  by  destiny  the  bane  of  Rome. 
Two  horns  (most  strange  to  tell)  his  temples  crown  : 
If  e'er  he  pass  the  walls,  and  gain  the  town,  860 

Your  laws  are  forfeit,  that  ill-fated  hour-; 
And  liberty  must  yield  to  lawless  pow'r. 
Your  gates  he  might  have  enter'd ;  but  this  arm 
Seiz'd  the  usurper,  and  withheld  the  harm. 
Haste,  find  the  monster  out,  and  let  him  be  865 

Condemn'd  to  all  the  senate  can  decree ; 
Or  tied  in  chains,  or  into  exile  thrown ; 
Or  by  the  tyrant's  death  prevent  your  own. 

The  crowd  such  murmurs  utter  as  they  stand, 
As  swelling  surges  breaking  on  the  strand:  870 

Or  as  when  gath'ring  gales  sweep  o'er  the  grove, 
And  their  tall  heads  the  bending  cedars  move. 
Each  with  confusion  gaz'd,  and  then  began 
To  feel  his  fellow's  brows ;  and  find  the  man. 
Cippus  then  shakes  his  garland  off,  and  cries,         875 
The  wretch  you  want,  I  ofler  to  your  eyes. 

The  anxious  throng  look'd  down,  and  sad  in  thought, 
All  wish'd  they  had  not  found  the  sign  they  sought; 
In  haste  with  laurel  wreaths  his  head  they  bind ; 
Such  honour  to  such  virtue  was  assign'd.  880 

Then  thus  the  senate:— Hear,  O  Cippus,  hear; 
So  godlike  is  thy  tutelary  care, 
That  since  in  Rome  thyself  forbids  thy  stay, 
For  thy  abode  those  acres  we  convey 
The  ploughshare  can  surround,  the  labour  of  a  day. 
In  deathless  records  thou  sbalt  stand  enroll'd,        886 
And  Rome's  rich  posts  shall  shine  with  horns  of  gold. 

Melodious  maids  of  Pindus,  who  inspire 
The  flowing  strains,  and  tune  the  vocal  lyre ; 
Tradition's  secrets  are  unlock'd  to  you,  890 

Old  tales  revive,  and  ages  past  renew ; 
You,  who  can  hidden  causes  best  expound, 
Say,  whence  the  isle  which  Tiber  flows  around, 
Its  altars  with  a  heav'nly  stranger  grac'd, 
And  in  our  shrines  the  god  of  Physic  plac'd.  895 

A  wasting  plague  infected  Latium's  skies ; 

BOOK  XV.  399 

Pale,  bloodless  looks  were  seen,  with  ghastly  eyes; 

The  dire  disease's  marks  each  visage  wore, 

And  the  pure  blood  was  chang'd  to  putrid  gore : 

In  vain  were  human  remedies  applied :  900 

In  vain  the  pow'r  of  healing  herbs  was  tried; 

Wearied  with  death,  they  seek  celestial  aid, 

And  visit  Phoebus  in  his  Delphic  shade ; 

In  the  world's  centre  sacred  Delphos  stands, 

And  gives  its  oracles  to  distant  lands :  905 

Here  they  implore  the  god,  with  fervent  vows, 

His  salutary  pow'r  to  interpose, 

And  end  a  great  afflicted  city's  woes. 

The  holy  temple  sudden  tremors  prov'd : 

The  laurel  grove  and  all  its  quivers  mov'd;  910 

In  hollow  sounds  the  priestess  thus  began ; 

And  through  each  bosom  thrilling  horrors  ran : — 

'  Th'  assistance,  Roman,  which  you  here  implore, 

Seek  from  another,  and  a  nearer  shore  ; 

Relief  must  be  implor'd  and  sixccour  won,  915 

Not  from  Apollo,  but  Apollo's  son ; 

My  son,  to  Latium  borne,  shall  bring  redress  : 

Go,  with  good  omens,  and  expect  success.' 

When  these  clear  oracles  the  senate  knew ; 
The  sacred  tripod's  counsels  they  pursue ;  920 

Depute  a  pious  and  a  chosen  band, 
Who  sail  to  Epidaurus'  neighb'ring  land: 
Before  the  Grecian  elders  when  they  stood, 
They  pray  'em  to  bestow  the  healing  god ; 
'  Ordain'd  was  he  to  save  Ausonia's  state :  925 

So  promis'd  Delphi,  and  unerring  fate.' 
Opinions  various  their  debates  enlarge  : 
Some  plead  to  yield  to  Rome  the  sacred  charge; 
Others,  tenacious  of  their  country's  wealth, 
Refuse  to  grant  the  pow'r  who  guards  its  health.     930 

While  dubious  they  remain'd,  the  wasting  light 
Withdrew  before  the  growing  shades  of  night. 
Thick  darkness  now  obscur'd  the  dusky  skies : 
Now,  Roman,  clos'd  in  sleep  were  mortal  eyes, 
When  health's  auspicious  god  appears  to  thee,        935 
And  thy  glad  dreams  his  form  celestial  see : 
In  his  left  hand,  a  rural  staff  preferr'd, 
His  right  is  seen  to  stroke  his  decent  beard. 


'  Dismiss  (said  he,  with  mildness  all  divine), 
Dismiss  your  fears;  I  come  and  leave  my  shrine;  940 
This  serpent  view,  that  with  ambitious  play 
My  staff  encircles,  mark  him  ev'ry  way : 
His  form  though  larger,  nobler,  I'll  assume, 
And  chang'd  as  gods  should  be,  bring  aid  to  Rome.' 
Here  fled  the  vision ;  and  the  vision's  flight  915 

Was  follow'd  by  the  cheerful  dawn  of  light. 

Now  was  the  morn  with  blushing  streaks  o'erspread, 
And  all  the  starry  fires  of  heav'n  were  fled; 
The  chiefs  perplex'd,  and  fill'd  with  doubtful  care, 
To  their  protector's  sumptuous  roofs  repair,  950 

By  genuine  signs  implore  him  to  express, 
What  seats  he  deigns  to  choose,  what  land  to  bless ; 
Scarce  their  ascending  pray'rshad  reach'dthe  sky; 
Lo,  the  serpentine  god  erected  high! 
Forerunning  hissings  his  approach  confess'd;  955 

Bright  shone  his  golden  scales,  and  wav'd  his  lofty 
The  trembling  altar  his  appearance  spoke:         [crest. 
The  marble  floor,  and  glitt'ring  ceiling  shook ; 
The  doors  were  rock'd ;  the  statue  seem'd  to  nod ; 
And  all  the  fabric  own'd  the  present  god :  960 

His  radiant  chest  he  taught  aloft  to  rise, 
And  round  the  temple  cast  his  flaming  eyes : 
Struck  with  th'  astonish'd  crowd,  the  holy  priest 
His  temples  with  white  bands  of  ribbon  dress'd, 
With  rev'rent  awe  the  pow'r  divine  confess'd:        965 
'  The  god!  the  god!  (he  cries  ;)  all  tongues  be  still! 
Each  conscious  breast  devoutest  ardour  fill! 
O  beauteous  !  O  divine  !  assist  our  cares, 
And  be  propitious  to  thy  vot'ries'  pray'rs!' 
All  with  consenting  hearts,  and  pious  fear,  970 

The  words  repeat,  the  deity  revere ; 
The  Romans  in  their  holy  worship  join 'd, 
With  silent  awe  and  purity  of  mind: 
Gracious  to  them,  his  crest  is  seen  to  nod, 
And,  as  an  earnest  of  his  care,  the  god,  975 

Thrice  hissing,  vibrates  thrice  his  forked  tongue. 
And  now  the  smooth  descent  he  glides  along ; 
Still  on  the  ancient  seats  he  bends  his  eyes, 
In  which  his  statue  breathes,  his  altars  rise; 
His  long-lo  v'd  shrine  with  kind  concern  he  leaves,  980 

BOOK  XV.  401 

And  to  forsake  th'  accustom 'd  mansion  grieves; 
At  length,  his  sweeping  bulk  in  state  is  borne 
Through  the  throng'd  streets,  which  scatter'd  flow'rs 

Through  many  a  fold  he  winds  his  mazy  course, 
And  gains  the  port,  and  moles,  which  break  the 

ocean's  force.  985 

'Twas  here  he  made  a  stand,  and  having  view'd 
The  pious  train,  who  his  last  steps  pursu'd, 
Seem'd  to  dismiss  their  zeal,  with  gracious  eyes, 
While  gleams  of  pleasure  in  his  aspect  rise. 

And  now  the  Latian  vessel  he  ascends ;  990 

Beneath  the  weighty  god  the  vessel  bends : 
The  Latins  on  the  strand  great  Jove  appease, 
Their  cables  loose,  and  plough  the  yielding  seas ; 
The  high-rear'd  serpent  from  the  stern  displays 
His  gorgeous  form,  and  the  blue  deep  surveys ;       995 
The  ship  is  wafted  on  with  gentle  gales, 
And  o'er  the  calm  Ionian  smoothly  sails : 
On  the  sixth  morn,  th'  Italian  coast  they  gain, 
And  touch  Lacuna,  grac'd  with  Juno's  fane; 
Now  fair  Calabria  to  the  sight  is  lost,  1000 

And  all  the  cities  on  her  fruitful  coast; 
They  pass  at  length  the  rough  Sicilian  shore, 
The  Brutian  soil,  rich  with  metallic  ore, 
The  famous  isles  where  iEblus  was  king, 
And  Paestus  blooming  with  eternal  spring:  1005 

Minerva's  cape  they  leave,  and  Capreae's  isle, 
Campania,  on  whose  hills  the  vineyards  smile, 
The  city  which  AlcideV  spoils  adorn, 
Naples,  for  soft  delight  and  pleasure  born ; 
Fair  Stabiae,  with  Cumean  Sibyls'  seats,  1010 

And  Ba'ia's  tepid  baths,  and  green  retreats: 
Linternum  next  they  reach,  where  balmy  gums 
Distil  from  mastic-trees,  and  spread  perfumes : 
Caieta,  from  the  nurse  so  nam'd,  for  whom, 
With  pious  care,  iEneas  rais'd  a  tomb;  1015 

Vulturne,  whose  whirlpools  suck  the  numerous  sands, 
And  Trachas,  and  Mintumae's  marshy  lands, 
And  Formiae's  coast  is  left,  and  Circe's  plain, 
Which  yet  remembers  her  enchanting  reign ; 
To  Antium,  last,  his  course  the  pilot  guides ;  1020 


Here,  while  the  anchor'd  vessel  safely  rides 
(For  now  the  ruffled  deep  portends  a  storm), 
The  spiry  god  unfolds  his  spheric  form 
Through  large  indentings  draws  his  luoric  train, 
And  seeks  the  refuge  of  Apollo's  fane.  inog 

The  fane  is  situate  on  the  yellow  shore 

H?fpnJh\Se%S?5d.'  aUd  the  Winds  raS'd  no  more, 
He  leaves  Ins  father's  hospitable  lands, 

And  furrows,  with  his  rattling  scales,  the  sands 

Along  the  coasts  ;  at  length  the  ship  regains,         1030 

And  sails  to  Tiber,  and  Lavinum's  plains. 

Here  mingling  crowds  to  meet  their  patron  came, 

h  en  the  chaste  guardians  of  the  Vestal  flame- 

From  ev'ry  part  tumultuous  they  repair, 

And  joyful  acclamations  rend  the  air:    '  1035 

Along  the  flow'ry  banks,  on  either  side, 

Where  the  tall  ship  floats  on  the  swelling  tide, 

Uispos'd  in  decent  order,  altars  rise- 

And  crackling  incense,  as  it  mounts'  the  skies, 

The  air  with  sweets  refreshes;  while  the  knife,    1040 

Warm  withtte  victim's  blood,  lets  out  the  streaming 

The  world's  great  mistress,  Rome,  receives  him  now  • 
On  the  mast's  top  reclin'd,  he  waves  his  brow, 
And  from  that  height  surveys  the  great  abodes, 
And  mansions,  worthy  of  residing  gods.  1045 

The  land,  a  narrow  neck,  itself  extends 
Round  which  his  course  the  stream  divided  bends ; 
Ihe  stream  s  two  arms,  on  either  side,  are  seen, 
Stretch  d  out  in  equal  length;  the  land  between. 
Ihe  isle,  so  call'd,  from  hence  derives  its  name :   1050 
1  was  here  the  salutary  serpent  came  ; 
Nor  sooner  has  he  left  the  Latian  pine, 
But  he  assumes  again  his  form  divine, 
And  now  no  more  the  drooping  city  mourns, 
Joy  is  again  restor'd,  and  health  returns.  1055 

But  iEsculapius  was  a  foreign  power  : 
In  his  own  city,  Ccesar  we  adore  : 
Him  arms  and  arts  alike  renown'd  beheld, 
In  peace  conspicuous,  dreadful  in  the  field'; 
His  rapid  conquests,  and  swift-finish'd  war's,        106O 

BOOK  XV.  403 

The  hero  justly  fix'd  among  the  stars; 

Yet  is  his  progeny  his  greatest  fame : 

The  son  immortal  makes  the  father's  name. 

The  sea-girt  Britons,  by  his  courage  tam'd, 

For  their  high  rocky  cliffs,  and  fierceness  fam'd ;  1065 

His  dreadful  navies,  which  victorious  rode 

O'er  Nile's  affrighted  waves  and  seven-sourc'd  flood ; 

Numidia,  and  the  spacious  realms  regain'd; 

Where  Cinyphis  or  flows,  or  Juba  reign'd; 

The  pow'rs  of  titled  Mithridates  broke,  1070 

And  Pontus  added  to  the  Roman  yoke; 

Triumphal  shows  decreed,  for  conquests  won, 

For  conquests,  which  the  triumphs  still  outshone; 

These  are  great  deeds;  yet  less  than  to  have  giv'n 

The  world  a  lord,  in  whom,  propitious  heav'n,        1075 

When  you  decreed  the  sov'reign  rule  to  place, 

You  bless'd  with  lavish  bounty  human  race. 

Now,  lest  so  great  a  prince  might  seem  to  rise 
Of  mortal  stem,  his  sire  must  reach  the  skies; 
The  beauteous  goddess  that  iEneas  bore ;  1090 

Foresaw  it,  and,  foreseeing,  did  deplore  ; 
For  well  she  knew  her  hero's  fate  was  nigh, 
Devoted  by  conspiring  arms  to  die. 
Trembling,  and  pale,  to  ev'ry  god  she  cry'd, 
Behold,  what  deep  and  subtle  arts  are  tried,  1085 

To  end  the  last,  the  only  branch  that  springs 
From  my  llilus,  and  the  Dardan  kings  ! 
How  bent  they  are !  how  desp'rate  to  destroy 
All  that  is  left  me  of  unhappy  Troy ! 
Am  I  alone  by  Fate  ordain'd  to  know  1090 

Uninterrupted  care,  and  endless  woe  1 
Now  from  TydideV  spear  I  feel  the  wound  : 
Now  Ilium's  tow'rs  the  hostile  flames  surround  : 
Troy  laid  in  dust,  my  exil'd  son  I  mourn, 
Through  angry  seas,  and  raging  billows  borne ;     1095 
O'er  the  wide  deep  his  wand'ricg  course  he  bends ; 
Now  to  the  sullen  shades  of  Styx  descends. 
With  Turnus  driv'n  at  last  fierce  wars  to  wage, 
Or  rather  with  unpitying  Juno's  rage. 
But  why  record  I  now  my  ancient  woes  %  1100 

Sense  of  past  ills  in  present  fear3  I  lose; 


On  me  their  points  the  impious  daggers  throw; 

Forbid  it,  gods,  repel  the  direful  blow : 

If  by  curst  weapons  Numa's  priest  expires, 

No  longer  shall  ye  bum,  ye  vestal  fires.  1105 

While  such  complainings  Cypria's  grief  disclose ; 
In  each  celestial  breast  compassion  rose : 
Nor  gods  can  alter  fate's  resistless  will ; 
Yet  they  foretold,  by  signs,  th'  approaching  ill. 
Dreadful  were  heard,  among  the  clouds,  alarms   1110 
Of  echoing  trumpets,  and  of  clashing  arms; 
The  sun's  pale  image  gave  so  faint  a  light, 
That  the  sad  earth  was  almost  veil'd  in  night ; 
The  ^Ether's  face  with  fiery  meteors  glow'd ; 
With  storms  of  hail  were  mingled  drops  of  blood ! 
A  dusky  hue  the  morning  star  o'erspread,  1116 

And  the  moon's  orb  was  stain'd  with  spots  of  red  ; 
In  ev'ry  place  portentous  shrieks  were  heard, 
The  fatal  warnings  of  th'  infernal  bird : 
In  ev'ry  place  the  marble  melts  to  tears ;  1120 

While  in  the  groves,  rever'd  through  length  of  years, 
Boding,  and  awful  sounds,  the  ear  invade ; 
And  solemn  music  warbles  through  the  shade; 
No  victim  can  atone  the  impious  age, 
No  sacrifice  the  wrathful  gods  assuage  ;  1125 

Dire  wars  and  civil  fury  threat  the  state : 
And  ev'ry  omen  points  out  Cjesar's  fate: 
Around  each  hallow'd  shrine  and  sacred  dome, 
Night-howling  dogs  disturb  the  peaceful  gloom; 
Their  silent  seats  the  wand'ring  shades  forsake,    1130 
And  fearful  tremblings  the  rock'd  city  shake. 

Yet  could  not,  by  these  prodigies,  be  broke 
The  plotted  charm,  or  staid  the  fatal  stroke  ; 
Their  swords  th'  assassins  in  the  temple  draw; 
Their  murd'ring  hands  nor  gods  nor  temples  awe;  1135 
This  sacred  place  their  bloody  weapons  stain, 
And  virtue  falls  before  the  altar  slain. 
'Twas  now  fair  Cypria,  with  her  woes  opprest, 
In  raging  anguish  smote  her  heav'nly  breast ; 
While  with  distracting  tears  the  goddess  try'd       1140 
Her  hero  in  th'  ethereal  cloud  to  hide, 
The  cloud  which  youthful  Paris  did  conceal, 
When  Menelaus  urg'd  the  threat'ning  steel  I 

BOOK  XV.  405 

The  cloud,  which  once  deceiv'd  Tydides  sight, 

And  sav'd  ^Eneas  in  th'  unequal  fight.  1145 

When  Jove : — •  In  vain,  fair  daughter,  you  essay 
To  o'er-rule  destiny's  unconquer'd  sway : 
Your  doubts  to  banish,  enter  Fate's  abode: 
A  privilege  to  heav'nly  pow'rs  allow'd; 
There  shall  you  see  the  records  grav'd  in  length,  1150 
On  ir'n  and  solid  brass,  with  mighty  strength ; 
Which  heav'n's  and  earth's  concussions  shall  endure, 
Maugre  all  shocks,  eternal,  and  secure : 
There,  on  perennial  adamant  design'd, 
The  various  fortunes  of  your  race  you'll  find :         1155 
Well  I  have  mark'd  'em,  and  will  now  relate 
To  thee  the  settled  laws  of  future  fate. 

*  He,  goddess,  for  whose  death  the  fates  you  blame, 
Has  finish'd  his  determin'd  course  with  fame : 
To  thee  'tis  giv'n,  at  length  that  he  shall  shine     1160 
Among  the  gods,  and  grace  the  worshipp'd  shrine : 
His  sen  to  all  his  greatness  shall  be  heir, 
And  worthily  succeed  to  empire's  care : 
Our  self  will  lead  his  wars,  resolv'd  to  aid 
The  brave  avenger  of  his  father's  shade:  1165 

To  him  its  freedom  Mutina  shall  owe, 
And  Decius  his  auspicious  conduct  know: 
His  dreadful  pow'rs  shall  shake  Pharsalia's  plain, 
And  drench  in  gore  Philippi's  fields  again: 
A  mighty  leader  in  Sicilia's  flood,  1170 

Great  Pompey's  warlike  son  shall  be  subdu'd- 
iEgypt's  soft  queen,  adorn'd  with  fatal  charms, 
Shall  mourn  her  soldier's  unsuccessful  arms : 
Too  late  shall  find,  her  swelling  hopes  were  vain, 
And  know,  that  Rome  o'er  Memphis  still  must  reign : 
Why  name  I  Afric  or  Nile's  hidden  head  ?  1176 

Far  as  both  oceans  roll,  his  pow'r  shall  spread : 
All  the  known  earth  to  him  shall  homage  pay, 
And  the  seas  own  his  universal  sway  : 
When  cruel  war  no  more  disturbs  mankind ;         1180 
To  civil  studies  shall  he  bend  his  mind, 
With  equal  justice  guardian  laws  ordain, 
And,  by  his  great  example,  vice  restrain : 
Where  will  his  bounty  or  his  goodness  end? 


To  times  unborn  his  gen'rous  views  extend;  1185 

The  virtues  of  his  heir  our  praise  engage, 

And  promise  blessings  to  the  coming  age  : 

Late  shall  he  in  his  kindred  orbs  be  plac'd, 

With  Pylian  years,  and  crouded  honours  grac'd. 

Meantime,  your  hero's  fleeting  spirit  bear,  1190 

Fresh  from  his  wounds,  and  change  it  to  a  star: 

So  shall  great  Julius  rites  divine  assume, 

And  from  the  skies  eternal  smile  on  Rome.' 

This  spoke  ;  the  goddess  to  the  senate  flew :        1194 
Where,  her  fair  form  conceal'd  from  mortal  view, 
Her  Cesar's  heav'nly  part  she  made  her  care, 
Nor  left  the  recent  soul  to  waste  to  air, 
But  bore  it  upwards  to  its  native  skies : 
Glowing  with  new-born  fires  she  saw  it  rise  • 
Forth  springing  from  her  bosom  up  it  flew,  1200 

And,  kindling,  as  it  soar'd,  a  comet  grew ; 
Above  the  lunar  sphere  it  took  its  flight, 
And  shot  behind  it  a  long  trail  of  light. 

Thus  rais'd,  his  glorious  offspring  Julius  view'd, 
Beneficently  great,  and  scatt'ring  good,  1205 

Deeds,  that  his  own  surpass'd,  with  joy  beheld 
And  his  large  heart  dilates  to  be  excell'd. 
What,  though  this  prince  refuses  to  receive 
The  preference,  which  his  juster  subjects  give  • 
Fame  uncontroll'd,  that  no  restraint  obeys,  1210 

The  homage,  shunn'd  by  modest  virtue,  pays, 
And  proves  disloyal  only  in  his  praise. 
Though  great  his  sire,  him  greater  we  proclaim  : 
So  Atreus  yields  to  Agamemnon's  fame; 
Achilles  so  superior  honours  won,  1215 

And  Peleus  must  submit  to  Peleus'  son; 
Examples  yet  more  noble  to  disclose, 
So  Saturn  was  eclips'd,  when  Jove  to  empire  rose  : 
Jove  rules  the  heav'ns ;  the  earth  Augustus  sways ; 
Each  claims  a  monarch's  and  a  father's  praise.     1220 

Celestials,  who  for  Rome  your  cares  employ; 
Ye  gods,  who  guarded  the  remains  of  Troy ; 
Ye  native  gods,  here  born  and  fix'dby  fate; 
Quirinus,  founder  of  the  Roman  state; 
O  parent  Mars,  from  whom  Quirinus  sprung; 

BOOK  XV.  407 

Chaste  Vesta,  Caesar's  household  gods  among        K25 
Most  sacred  held ;  domestic  Phoebus,  thou, 
To  whom  with  Vesta  chaste  alike  we  bow ; 
Great  guardian  of  the  high  Tarpeian  rock ; 
And  all  ye  pow'rs  whom  poets  may  invoke; 
O,  grant  that  day  may  claim  our  sorrows  late, 
When  lov'd  Augustus  shall  submit  to  fate  ;  1230 

Visit  those  seats  where  gods  and  heroes  dwell ; 
And  leave,  in  tears,  the  world  he  rul'd  so  well. 

The  work  is  finish'd,  which  nor  dreads  the  rage 
Of  tempests,  fire,  or  war,  or  wasting  age :  1236 

Come,  soon  or  late,  death's  undetermin'd  day, 
This  mortal  being  only  can  decay; 
My  nobler  part,  my  fame,  shall  reach  the  skies, 
And  to  late  times,  with  blooming  honours  rise :     12 10 
Whate'er  th'  unbounded  Roman  pow'r  obeys, 
All  climes,  and  nations,  shall  record  my  praise  : 
If  'tis  allow'd  to  poets  to  divine, 
One  half  of  round  eternity  is  mine. 

THE    END. 

Printed  by  J.  F.DovE,St.  John's  Square.